The Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC)’s new Community Learning Program supports reconciliation through Indigenous-led, community-based learning.
The Community Learning Program is a holistic learning experience that offers an opportunity for community to learn with Indigenous people in a collaborative and experiential way. This is done through interactive online training that creates a solid foundation of learning, followed by in-person training that fosters deep connection, education, and reflection shared between Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners.
This program was developed as a direct result of the work of the Victoria Urban Reconciliation Dialogue (VURD), where community came together to understand the reconciliation needs of our residents, and supports the VURD Blueprint focus area of Education, while also contributing to the other three areas: Relationships, Physical Spaces, and Decolonization. Building on this critical work, the Community Learning Program is creating a new pathway in community reconciliation.
The hope of the Community Learning Program is to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners together in a good way, resulting in:
· informed citizens who can volunteer in complex Indigenous service areas and better function in community
· non-Indigenous people feeling comfortable at VNFC and in other Indigenous spaces because they are better informed and equipped with knowledge and skills for respectful interactions
· a safe learning environment for Indigenous people to explore their own history and cultural understandings
· fewer experiences of racism, discrimination and barriers for Indigenous people
“We are excited to celebrate this new journey towards reconciliation in our community” said Ron Rice, VNFC Executive Director. “The Community Learning Program is an achievement not only for the successful learners, but also for everyone that came together through the VURD process, to be able to see their hard work put into action, and to wonder what’s next.”