Reconciliation in Action: An Analysis of Canadian National Healing Forests
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The relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada is one that is strained due to a history of cultural assimilation and genocide, fullfilled by the residential school system. Reconciliation is a non-linear, constant process in which these relationships are mended through bringing awareness to our common history, an acknowledgment of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behavior (Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 2015). This study aims to add to the growing literature on reconciliation, filling a gap on the impact of Indigenous and Canadian settler community partnerships. The Canadian wide National Healing Forest (NHF) initiative is analyzed to understand how the community and nature focusedproject contributes to the reconciliation process in Canada. To do this, the literature, theories and case studies detailing the reconciliation process were analyzed to understand the most prominent and frequent elements which Indigenous scholars have outlined as: awareness, relationship and restitution (Clarke, 2015; Petoukhov, 2013; Watson, 2020). These elements are compared to the significant themes that arose from relevant media sources detailing the NHFs in a framework analysis. This study revealed that the NHF initiative is one that is in line with the literature and theories outlining the reconciliation process. The National Healing Forest initiative involves fostering community collaboration and healing in nature leading to strong community connection and empowerment.