Documenting progressive social movements and citizen engagement in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - one pixel at a time.
Updated: 13 hours 33 min ago

Latest Update: March On Edmonton Women’s Anniversary March

January 23, 2018 - 11:43am

Women: March On Edmonton Women’s Anniversary March (January 20, 2018)

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March On Edmonton - Women's Anniversary March 2018

March On Edmonton - Women's Anniversary March 2018

Latest Update: Hands Off Jerusalem Rally

December 12, 2017 - 2:27pm

Israel/Palestine: Hands Off Jerusalem Rally (December 10, 2017)

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Hands Off Jerusalem Rally

Hands Off Jerusalem Rally

Latest Update: ECAWAR Info Picket

November 26, 2017 - 8:39pm

Peace, International Issues, & Organizations – ECAWAR: ECAWAR Info Picket (November 25, 2017)

 Nov. 25, 2017

Latest Update: Anti-Fur Protest

November 26, 2017 - 8:32pm

Animal Advocacy: Anti-Fur Protest (November 25, 2017)

Anti-Fur Protest

Latest Update: National Housing Day of Action

November 24, 2017 - 1:14pm

Poverty and Housing: National Housing Day of Action (November 22, 2017)

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National Housing Day of Action - ECOHH Event

National Housing Day of Action - ECOHH Event

Latest Update: Take Back the Night 2017

October 28, 2017 - 12:25pm

Women: Take Back the Night 2017 (October 27, 2017)

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Take Back the Night 2017

Take Back the Night 2017

Latest Update: Indigenous-Led Day of Action for Pipeline Divestment

October 24, 2017 - 1:30pm

Indigenous/First Nations & Environment: Indigenous-Led Day of Action for Pipeline Divestment (October 23, 2017)

Indigenous-Led Pipeline Divestment Day of Action

Indigenous-Led Pipeline Divestment Day of Action

Latest Update: Sandra Laya Ruch of VOW

October 22, 2017 - 11:35am

Peace: Sandra Laya Ruch of Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (October 20, 2017 – video only)

Latest Update: ECAWAR Info Picket – Hands Off Korea & Venezuela

October 17, 2017 - 7:41pm

Peace/International Issues/Organizations – ECAWAR: ECAWAR Info Picket: Hands Off Korea! Hands Off Venezuela! (October 14, 2017)

 Hands Off Korea & Venezuela

 Hands Off Korea & Venezuela

Latest Update: Sisters in Spirit March and Rally 2017

October 8, 2017 - 9:17pm

Indigenous/First Nations & Women: Sisters in Spirit March and Rally 2017 (October 7, 2017)

Sisters in Spirit 2017

Sisters in Spirit 2017

Latest Update: Salvos Prelorentzos Peace Award 2017

October 2, 2017 - 2:01pm

Peace Events: Salvos Prelorentzos Peace Awards 2017 (September 28, 2017)

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Salvos Prelorentzos Peace Awards 2017

Salvos Prelorentzos Peace Awards 2017

Latest Update: Stand Together Against Violence

October 2, 2017 - 12:39pm

Local Issues: Stand Together Against Violence (October 1, 2017)

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Stand Together Against Violence

Stand Together Against Violence

Latest Update: Orange Shirt Day 2017

September 30, 2017 - 1:13pm

Indigenous/First Nations: Orange Shirt Dy 2017 (September 29, 2017)

Orange Shirt Day 2017

Orange Shirt Day 2017


Latest Update: ECAWAR Info Picket – Hands Off Korea

September 25, 2017 - 8:18pm

International Issues: ECAWAR Info Picket – Hands Off Korea (September 23, 2017)


Hands Off Korea - ECAWAR Info Picket

Hands Off Korea - ECAWAR Info Picket

Latest Update: PARK(ing) Day 2017

September 21, 2017 - 7:43pm

Culture Jamming/Community & Street Art: PARK(ing) Day 2017 (September 15, 2017)

PARK(ing) Day 2017

PARK(ing) Day 2017

Latest Update: #LiftHerUp Edmonton Campaign Launch

September 19, 2017 - 11:32pm

Women’s Issues: #LiftHerUp Edmonton Campaign Launch (September 19, 2017 – videos only)


Latest Update: Reconciliation at Garneau United Church

September 18, 2017 - 5:11pm

Faith and Social Justice: Church in the World – Reconciliation (talk at Garneau United Church, September 17, 2017)

On September 17, 2017, I was invited to speak to Church in the World monthly session at Garneau United Church. This is a session over lunch following a Sunday morning service, dealing with some aspect of social justice. My topic was Reconciliation and what Edmonton United Churches are doing to address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. I presented my short talk in the context of Moving Forward with Reconciliation, a group I have been involved with for a couple of years. Below are the notes from my talk, as well as a summary of the responses to the questions I was asked afterwards.


My work: I have an interest in documentation and communication, particularly bringing groups together that have a common cause or interest. To that end, I have been documenting local activism in Edmonton and posting on social media, which is building greater awareness of progressive movements in the city. This extends to Indigenous issues and Reconciliation.

I’ve been involved with a group called Moving Forward with Reconciliation for a couple of years. It’s a ministry of Edmonton Presbytery and we have members from a number of Edmonton United Church congregations. I got involved with the group through a woman named Debbie Hubbard. Debbie and I knew each other through Palestine solidarity work, and I later found out she had formed the Moving Forward group and was facilitating it at the time. I was also writing for an Indigenous newspaper (I’m a multi-media journalist by profession) and was following what the group was doing, which was working on building bridges between the United Church and Indigenous communities, through meetings, events, dialogues – all of this was in the planning stages at the time but I started to attend planning meetings of the working group.

A large part of Moving Forward was the building of an email list to send out announcements concerning events relating to Reconciliation and Indigenous education that are open to non-Indigenous people. Last summer, Debbie moved to Kelowna with her husband, and needed someone to take over the list. She felt I was the natural person to that given my background with communications and, although I am not of a United Church background, I am involved with the United Church on a professional basis as Marketing Project Coordinator with Mill Woods United Church, where I assist the congregation with its website and social media. So, I did indeed take over the email list after she moved.

What I have built: The email list has grown quite a bit since last year. I send out more event notices than in the past, although I try to limit to one per day because it is quite a large list. I also built a Facebook page where the events, which mostly have Facebook event pages associated with them, are also posted. People were requesting this, particularly younger people who tend to check Facebook more than their email. Some kind of list of events was also requested, so that people did not have to go back-tracking through their email to look something up, so I built a Reconciliation Calendar as part of the Mill Woods website. (I am paid an honorarium for my Moving Forward work through a grant that is administrated through Mill Woods, hence it being the logical connection). Many of the events I post I find on Facebook – I spend time searching through pages of Indigenous and Reconciliation-related organizations – and also I am contacted personally with request to post information and events.

Ongoing work/integration: The working group itself continues to be dynamic and finding its way in terms of mission and purpose, while its members are a presence at many events as participants and volunteers. Why are we doing this? As we know, the United Church has been responding to the Calls for Action and there is an excellent section of the main United Church website that deals with Reconciliation:


The response to the email list is overwhelmingly positive. A resource such as the Moving Forward list is a relatively simple, inexpensive way to make church people aware of events and bring people out in greater numbers. Reconciliation can’t happen in a vacuum – it’s definitely great to have church-based discussion groups because there are many things that need to be discussed on a church level in terms of what the role in Reconciliation should be, and people’s experiences and such, but in order to take it to the next level (so to speak), we really need to be out there at events and learning and volunteering and taking part.

Speaking of which, we need people from Garneau to be involved. The church is on the email list, as are a number of you, and I notice a number of the items I post make it into your weekly newsletter, but the only person who was attending meetings regularly was Jim Graves, who as we all know was very passionate about reconciliation. Since he passed away in April, there has been no official representation from Garneau. We miss Jim terribly, and know that he would want someone from Garneau to be a part of Moving Forward.

Here are some issues and information that have been raised in previous talks I have given on this topic.

The Calls to Action pertaining to the Churches are 58-61.

58. We call upon the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools. We call for that apology to be similar to the 2010 apology issued to Irish victims of abuse and to occur within one year of the issuing of this Report and to be delivered by the Pope in Canada.

59. “We call upon church parties to the Settlement Agreement to develop ongoing education strategies to ensure that their respective congregations learn about their church’s role in colonization, the history and legacy of residential schools, and why apologies to former residential school students, their families, and communities were necessary.”

60. We call upon leaders of the church parties to the Settlement Agreement and all other faiths, in collaboration with Indigenous spiritual leaders, Survivors, schools of theology, seminaries, and other religious training centres, to develop and teach curriculum for all student clergy, and all clergy and staff who work in Aboriginal communities, on the need to respect Indigenous spirituality in its own right, the history and legacy of residential schools and the roles of the church parties in that system, the history and legacy of religious conflict in Aboriginal families and communities, and the responsibility that churches have to mitigate such conflicts and prevent spiritual violence.

61. We call upon church parties to the Settlement Agreement, in collaboration with Survivors and representatives of Aboriginal organizations, to establish permanent funding to Aboriginal people for:

i. Community-controlled healing and reconciliation projects.

ii. Community-controlled culture- and language revitalization projects.

iii. Community-controlled education and relationship building projects.

iv. Regional dialogues for Indigenous spiritual leaders and youth to discuss Indigenous spirituality, self-determination, and reconciliation.

Apologies need action. Saying you’re sorry and acknowledging what you did wrong is the first step – but what are you going to do, moving forward, to effect change?

Go to events and listen and learn. Offer to volunteer, where appropriate.

Have conversations. Get to know people as individuals, where they are at. We all have different backgrounds and stories. When we get to know people, we stop seeing them as “other.”

Ask questions. If you are unsure if something is cultural appropriation, or if you can take photographs, or in any situation where you don’t know how to proceed – ask. Asking shows respect.


I made my main presentation short on purpose, because Reconciliation needs to have discussions, not some white person talking non-stop for an hour. Several people in the congregation spoke about their experiences learning about residential schools and with Indigenous people, such as a retired physician who worked for a time in an Indigenous community and witnessed a high rate of tuberculosis there.

I was asked what churches are doing specifically to address Reconciliation in Edmonton, and the answer is that it is really a church-by-church sort of thing. Each congregation is doing different things, some more than others, in terms of events and such.

I was also asked about how seminaries and theological schools are addressing Call to Action #60. I am definitely not in the loop when it comes to what is being taught in seminaries, but I did say that when I was growing up as a student in Edmonton’s public school system, I never learned anything about residential schools. It was only more recently, when I attended the final TRC event in Edmonton in 2014 on assignment for a newspaper I was writing for at the time, that I learned about them. My mind was blown when I found out that the last residential school closed in the mid-90s. And I felt angry that such a gap existed in my education, and that what I received was a sanitized version of history. A younger man in the audience said that he learned about residential schools, so this is something that is changing with the generations. Someone added that this has indeed been added to the curriculum.

The conversation shifted at one point to the current controversy surrounding the removal of monuments and the changing of place names because of a historical figure’s attitudes and actions towards Indigenous people and others. I acknowledged that this is a complicated issue, and that one way to deal with it is, instead of removing something, to add to a monument by indicating those negative actions and beliefs – complete the story, so to speak, instead of replacing it. Also, the practise of naming places and things after people is inherently flawed, because in many cases people have beliefs or have done things that do not stand the test of history. I discussed this in the context of my involvement with Completing the Story, which seeks to increase the visual representation of women in public places.

Finally, someone mentioned about having to be careful when it comes to building things where it is known there are sacred burial grounds, as well as building tributes to Elders. My response is that any project that is about Indigenous people should involve Indigenous people.

Latest Update: March for Universal, Affordable Child Care

September 16, 2017 - 11:26pm

Women’s Issues: March for Universal, Affordable Child Care (September 16, 2017)

March for Universal Affordable Child Care

March for Universal Affordable Child Care

Latest Update: Daughters Day 2017

September 11, 2017 - 10:57pm

Women’s Issues: Daughters Day 2017 (September 9, 2017 – videos only)