Truth & Reconciliation: Wrestling with the Truth of Colonization

We are currently wrestling with the truth of colonization within our own member institutions and focused on our own un-learning and re-learning. We hope to trustingly and appropriately engage in work that examines and addresses the consequences of our ongoing legacy of colonization through building meaningful and life-giving relationships with Indigenous leaders. Our aim is to bring the IAF's Wrestling with the Truth of Colonization and its Aftermath training to Spokane in the coming years. Please see below for more details about this training program.

We have a new Truth & Reconciliation Team that is made up of majority institutional leaders committed to taking the Wrestling training at our affiliates alliances, and beginning relationship building with Indigenous leaders

The history of colonization is a wound that strikes at the very heart of this land. This leaves us with the question of how can we heal this wound. We are approaching this by:

      • Building relationships between communities
      • Truth-telling
      • Taking action to address the ongoing legacy of colonialism

It is time that we face the truth of our colonial past and how it has impacted all of us. We must not just face our past, we also need to build new, life-giving relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people so that together we can shape a relationship in which all can thrive. 

More information from the IAF NW:

The IAF Northwest’s Wrestling with the Truth of Colonization initiative is anchored by a five-session, 10-hour process that was developed by a talented team of US Native Americans,  Indigenous / First Nations Canadians, Aboriginal Australians, and Maori New Zealanders.  

It has been designed to take thousands of people from faith, labor, healthcare, and community organizations through a process that sets the stage for the right relationships and meaningful action with Indigenous people in their own communities. 

As the former Chief of the Tsuut'ina Nation recently told members of the IAF affiliated Calgary  Alliance, however, those right relationships must be earned. “People need to really wrestle with the Truth first, otherwise they will move too quickly to a cheap apology or tokenistic land acknowledgments and think they have done something meaningful.” 

The overall aims of the Wrestling sessions are to: 

  1. Share the history of Indigenous people and colonization while using participants' own experiences as a way to relate and build empathy. 
  2. Help participants wrestle with the role settler people and institutions play in maintaining systems that disadvantage Indigenous people and advantage themselves. 
  3. Show participants ways that they can confront individual biases and prejudices – both within themselves and in others – and collectively become agents for systemic change in partnership with Indigenous people. 
  4. Secure commitments from participants – and their member organizations – to engage in respectful, long-term partnerships with Indigenous leaders, elders, and organizations to remedy injustices of the past and present and to forge a new future. 

After a successful international test run with 80 people in December 2020, the IAF Northwest focused on supporting its affiliates in Calgary, Missoula, and Seattle in building strong partnerships with local Tribal and urban Indigenous leaders. After gaining their blessing and support in localizing the curriculum, an additional 250 people – representing 80 faith, labor, and community organizations members of those IAF affiliates – completed the training in 2021.  

With a foundational appreciation of colonization from an Indigenous / Native American perspective, Wrestling graduates are both more motivated to engage others from their organization and better equipped to partner with local Indigenous leaders and organizations.  They also gain a deeper understanding of how the Power Over forces of colonization - and racism more broadly – have been primarily driven by larger economic and institutional interests rather than individual behaviors. It needs to be addressed, therefore, through organizing together  – Power With – for systemic change around larger social, political, and economic issues.

How to Participate:

Click HERE to see view the events calendar.

If you are interested in taking the Wrestling training at one of our affiliates, please contact us

Wrestling with the Truth is a long-term partnership with local Tribal and urban Indigenous leaders. This can become an emotional journey for some, as you confront individual biases and prejudices, and engage in truth-telling (and listening). For these reasons, upcoming relational meetings will not be displayed on our Events Page.


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