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For me, a successful relationship begins with recognition. It’s about removing whatever stereotypes I might harbour (we all do it) and letting myself learn and listen (ugh, we all don’t).

It takes time to learn about an individual, a community, a group of people. But that’s how we establish positive recognition. (Did I just make that phrase up? Can I trademark it?)

Our days are filled with family, work, friends and sometimes the work of building a relationship gets lost in life. That is unfortunate because it’s the fundamental element of so many things – good business, healthy communities, strong families. And it’s what leads to across-the-board wins when building relationships, especially across cultures.

Fostering recognition leads to strengthened connections and understanding. That doesn’t mean carte blanche acceptance. But as we continue on our shared journeys together – particularly on the path of reconciliation – the first step is recognition.

The history between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people has been rooted in assimilation and colonization. So how are we to go forward on a different path when we have a direction deeply set over the past 150 years?

I think we as Indigenous continue to sharing our stories – outside the media and in our own medium, in our own way, with our own voices. We let our knowledge, our images guide us. It’s most prevalent in British Columbia and its time that pride manifests itself east of the Rockies.

Let’s be bold. Let’s hold each other up as shining examples of our culture, history and potential. Let’s move past the mistrust and misunderstandings to build meaningful relationships that help us all.

To begin, let’s listen and recognize.