Posted by Chris Snyder, Chair, HIP

Here is the latest Honoring Indigenous People Rotary News and Events, projects, blogs, photos, films, resources, and a letter from Chair, Rotarian Chris Snyder. Plus a third look at the  New feature called Good News Stories: Much of what we hear and read about Indigenous Peoples fits into the bad news category. From our vantage point, there are many good things happening.  If you have a good news story, please send it to us. Be sure to go to the HIP Website for the complete Newsletters. Here are some highlights for May 2018.....

Good News:  

On April 16th and 17th, HIP Directors, Diane Redsky, Lisa Farano, David Newman and I attended a conference in Winnipeg focusing on reconciliation. It was put on by an organization called Circles for Reconciliation and the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. HIP was one of the sponsors. It was attended by approximately 200 people of whom 50% were Indigenous. In addition to some excellent panels and speakers, we all had a chance to participate in one of these circles. The organization was started by Dr. Raymond Currie, former Dean of Arts at the University of Manitoba (he and his wife adopted two Indigenous children) and Clayton Sandy, a retired Indigenous public servant of the province of Manitoba. The concept is quite simple. Five Indigenous and five non-Indigenous people meet weekly for ten weeks to discuss a theme relating to Indigenous issues. There are ten issues, two of them include dispelling the myths of Indigenous Peoples and crisis intervention supports. People sit in a circle and an eagle feather is passed to the person speaking. The group dialogues for 1.25 hours. Already there have been 50 groups formed and everyone I spoke with who had attended were excited about what they have learned from and about each other. New groups are continually being formed including some in Toronto. The Toronto Community Foundation has given them $50,000 in support of their initiative. HIP will be assisting with this very positive program. For further details, go online Circles for Reconciliation – Reconciliation in Manitoba.

Rotary News

The Rotary International Convention June 23-27 is fast approaching. Already 38,000 Rotarians from an estimated 150 countries have registered. At the opening ceremonies there will be considerable Indigenous content including a welcome from Chief Stacey La Forme of the Mississaugas of the New Credit.

Our breakout session is called Indigenous Leaders Success in Action and will be on Monday, June 25th at 1:30 p.m. The session will be started with a video from National Chief and former Rotarian Perry Bellegarde followed by a panel. Panelists include Diane Redsky, HIP Director and Executive Director of Ma Mawi, an Indigenous social service organization in Winnipeg, Rima Witanga from New Zealand, an authority on family conferencing which focuses on returning foster children to their homes, Riley Yesno, an Indigenous University of Toronto student who is a member of Justin Trudeau's Youth Council and Charlie Coffey, former Executive VP of the Royal Bank and one of Canada's most active business leaders in Indigenous issues. Andre Morriseau, HIP Director and senior executive with CCAB will be the facilitator. This will be an exciting event.

Our booth is number 914 in the Friendship Centre. Come and find out more about HIP. Bring your friends and encourage them to become involved. The Friendship Centre will also have Indigenous performers, dancers, singers and drummers plus two Kairos Blanket Exercises. The Blanket Exercises are currently scheduled for Sunday and Tuesday (see our blog for a full description of the exercise). The exercises are guaranteed to be moving. If you would like to volunteer at the booth, please advise Julie Dunaiskis ( or Steve Smith ( The shifts will be 9-12 p.m./12 p.m.-3 p.m./3 p.m. - 6 p.m. on June 23rd to June 27th. You must be registered for the convention to volunteer.

The Rotary Club of Brantford Sunrise has been involved with the Dolly Parton's Imagination Library through the organization, Kids Can Fly over the past seven years. During this time, 25% of children under 5 living in Brantford and Brant County are receiving books every month - a total of 80,230. A three-year commitment of $10,000/year has been agreed upon. The local health department compiled data and found that areas of higher involvement with DPIL showed higher literacy rates. Great work!

HIP Director, David Newman took part in greeting four Maori guests to Winnipeg. There was an audience of 100 including federal, provincial dignitaries and the media. He was introduced as a representative of Rotary HIP and spoke about what HIP is about. David is a lawyer and is giving a major gift of his time to support extended family conferencing and capacity building. Two of the Maori visitors came two years ago. It was in 1989 that Maori extended family conferencing was introduced into child protection legislation. This very successful concept is being introduced in Manitoba through Maw Mawi (come and hear more about it at our breakout session). David and his wife, Brenda are also working with HIP Director, Diane Redsky, two Grand Chiefs and Michael Champagne to indigenize the child protection legislation in Manitoba.The Rotary Club of Winnipeg begin their meetings by acknowledging the Indigenous land we stand on. Other organizations in Manitoba are doing so including Winnipeg City Council, Winnipeg Blue Bomber and Jets events and some school division meetings. Discussion is underway to add to the opening of the Manitoba Legislature.

HIP Director, John Andras, travelled to Thunder Bay in April to visit with members of the Denis Franklin Cromarty School (recipients of the clothing and equipment drive in December) and other community members. Former politician, Olivia Chow was there as well assisting indigenous women's groups find their voice.

HIP Executive Director, John Currie was in Sarnia and Windsor and addressed six clubs, all of whom are joining HIP. Click (Rotary HIP - Powerpoint Presentations) to view his presentation.

Chris and John Currie had meetings with several groups including Paul Martin's foundation personnel and also with Meghan Daly of Forward Vision Games to discuss financial literacy possibilities.

HIP Director, Tim Thompson will be speaking at the Rotary Club of Alliston on May 14th. He will be speaking on the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada in 2018. To purchase tickets, click on link Karihwakè:ron Tim Thompson Presentation | Rotary Club of Alliston.

John Lomax, a Rotarian from Brampton who is passionate about Indigenous issues and chair of the Rotary District 7080 Circle, has recently joined the HIP board. For details of his background, please go to our website. We are excited John has joined the board.

Kenn Richard has been active with the Sixties Scoop Settlement and recently hosted a video on the settlement. Click here (Rotary HIP - Films & Documentaries) to view (#18 under YouTube videos).

Fred Lawlor has spoken at several clubs and has been working on possible language initiatives.

What is your club doing? Please email Julie Dunaiskis ( with a brief summary so we can post on the HIP website and provide an update in upcoming newsletters. This will help other clubs and provide a sense of how we are involved.

Request a Speaker - Would your club like to have a Speaker at an upcoming meeting? If so, please check the list of available speakers on our website under Resources/Speakers List. Or contact Tom Sears ( to propose a date and a subject you would like the person to speak.

Other News: A reminder, you can find our slightly revised brochure on our website under Resources (Rotary HIP - HIP Brochure). If you would like to use it, you may print and distribute to your networks. We have also improved our Facebook page and added a twitter handle. We have over 200 FB followers and 60 twitter subscribers to date. If you would like to be a friend on our Facebook page, click : to see our new site. You can like, follow and share. We also encourage you to check our website and contents regularly. Encourage your friends too. Also, send Julie ( the email address of anyone who you think would like to receive our newsletter.

News & Events:  Computers Refurbishment - June 1st and June 2nd: Corporations for Community Connections (CFCC) and HIP are planning workshops to refurbish approximately 300 Dell laptops at Siemens Canada in Oakville. We will require volunteers to help prepare these laptops. No special technological knowledge is required. Registration will begin about two months in advance and online. It is our hope to have both Indigenous and non-Indigenous participation. We'll let you know when registration is open. Once laptops are ready, HIP will be coordinating the distribution to Indigenous schools in need of technology. Please advise John Currie ( if you can help out. Watch for further details!

Downie Wenjack Fund Benefit Concert - May 11th @ Market Hall, Peterborough: The Kawartha Truth and Reconciliation Support Group are hosting a concert at Market Hall in Peterborough to raise money for the Gord Downie-Chanie Wenjack Fund. The organizers are looking for approximately $5,000 of sponsorships to defray the cost of the venue and acts. If you can assist, please contact John Andras at ( Details can be found on our blog (Rotary HIP - Blog). Click on link for tickets

"Reconciliation on Bay Street" Film Premier Event - June 1st - Toronto: Andree Cazabon, producer of the world renowned film "Third World Canada" will be premiering her new film, the first film on economic reconciliation on June 1st. It will be a night of dialogue with Indigenous and Canadian business leaders to help engage Canadians in discussions of reconciliation that will benefit all of Canada. We hope you can join. To purchase tickets ($100), please see link (Reconciliation on Bay St. Film Premiere Tickets, Fri, 1 Jun 2018 at 6:00 PM | Eventbrite).

April - August 2018 - National Walk for Youth Mental Health: In Canada, we have a youth mental health crisis in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. In the Indigenous communities, in particular, there are high rates of suicide and many mental health issues. A cross- Canada walk will begin on April 1st in Newfoundland followed by a west coast walk beginning in BC on June 1st. To raise awareness and action, both walks will end in Winnipeg. It is hoped police officers and police services across the country will join and listen to what youth have to share. Details of the walk and sponsorship opportunities can be found on our blog (Rotary HIP - Blog). Check regularly on the website to see if your community will be joining in the walk (Hope in the Darkness – National Walk for Youth Mental Health).

Ideally, we would like every club to be connected with an Indigenous community. We will also be adding directors on the east and west coasts both Rotarian and Indigenous. Click the link to read (Rotary HIP - Powerpoint Presentations). A separate action plan has also been developed.

HIP worked closely with Kathryn McBey and the Richmond Hill United Church in a successful clothing drive for a school in Thunder Bay in December. The church selected DFC School to receive funds from their Advent/Christmas and Lenten/Easter financial appeals. A total of $2,500 has been sent to the school via HIP to use for their programs. These include having a bakery in Thunder Bay supply a monthly birthday cake to the school, the church youth send personal student birthday cards to students and they help a teacher and 8 students attend an annual youth leadership conference every November. This money goes a long way towards improving relationships. What if we all reached out like this?

Moving Forward Together:  We have had several articles before about acknowledging Traditional Lands of Indigenous Peoples. In fact, you may have recently attended an event or meeting and heard an opening statement acknowledging Traditional Lands. This tradition shows a willingness to listen and learn as an equal partner. Ideally, acknowledgements should not be developed in a silo. The process should include establishing healthy and reciprocal relations by reaching out and consulting with local Indigenous communities to discuss the wording to ensure it is both respectful and representative. It is best to ask them how they want to be acknowledged in their homelands. By doing so, it will provide an opportunity to establish a relationship with them. This may be difficult to do, however, in its absence, if you were to say something like "we would like to acknowledge we are on the Traditional Lands of _____________ " and then whatever First Nation territory you are on would be a start. You could refine it by seeking specific wording from the local First Nations community. Many school boards are doing this. We hope every Rotary club in Canada will soon. Can you try to do it at your next meeting? If you would like further guidance, please contact HIP Executive Director, John Currie at

Approved Projects (Rotary HIP - Approved projects): Check the HIP website to see full project descriptions and updates. 

We are also working on a possible global grant focussing on Indigenous cultural education. If you have a project you would like others to join you in, please contact us. Application forms are on our website under Contacts if you have a project you wish us to consider or approve. Please note, while much of our work is in Ontario, we are a national organization aiming at communities across the country. If you have a project in your area you would like us to know about or assistance with, please let us know. It is our plan to have directors, Rotary and Indigenous from coast to coast within a few months.

Blog (Rotary HIP - Blog) : As always, there have been many news items recently that have been added to our blog. Keep checking back for regular updates.

Resources - Films & Documentaries (Rotary HIP - Films & Documentaries): If you have recently viewed a good film or documentary or read a book not on our list with an indigenous theme or message, please email Julie Dunaiskis ( and Janet McLeod ( to add to our list. 

Richard Wagamese's Indian Horse was released on April 13th. The reviews are it is a good but disquieting and disturbing movie but as many reviewers have said, an important one to see. At the reconciliation conference in Winnipeg, the Indigenous community encouraged all people to see it. Pat and I saw it and is powerful and moving.

On the book front, two highly recommended books are The Right to be Cold  by well-known Inuit leader, Sheila Watt-Cloutier and Beyond the Indian Act by Tom Flanagan and others. Some people may be tired of reading and hearing about past history and Indigenous/non-Indigenous issues but as many sociologists and others have stated, we will never reach a point of reconciliation until we know our past. Some of this may include going through a difficult realization of what has gone before us.

Also, HIP Chair, Chris Snyder, has a new book coming out May 1st called Creating Opportunities. It is about his volunteering over 70 years, much of it to do with Rotary. There is a separate chapter on Canada's First Peoples. Wilf Wilkinson and Jeff Dobson, the incoming president of the Rotary Club of Toronto have provided testimonials. The foreword is by former Governor General David Johnston. For more information, go to

Links (Rotary HIP - Links)  We have added a new link to the organization, Kids Can Fly. They are involved with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Also read more about their many programs. Another organization link added is Canada World Youth. They provide a number of volunteer Indigenous youth programs from international internships and forums. If you click on the link to The Martin Family Initiative, you can read their latest newsletter which outlines some excellent educational and classroom resources.

HIP Membership & Donations: We would like you, your club and friends to become members. You do not need to be a Rotarian to join. You can join today by selecting (Rotary HIP - Become a Member) on the HIP website. Complete the online form and send us a cheque for $100 made payable to HIP. Please send a cheque c/o 100 Simcoe St., Suite 110, Toronto M5H 3G2 and reference the online form or send a note with your name, address, email and club(if applicable) to the above address. 

Charitable donations are accepted online through our website (Rotary HIP - Make a Donation) and the donor will receive a tax receipt immediately. You may designate funds to a specific project or to general projects focusing on education. Thank you for your continued support of our projects, in particular, we have had a terrific response to our ask for support for the transportation costs for shipments to the fly-in communities. You can also send in a cheque made payable to HIP and send to c/o ECC Group, 100 Simcoe St., Suite 110, Toronto, ON M5H 3G2.

Message from HIP Chair, Chris Snyder

My wife, Pat recently enrolled in an online course through the University of Alberta called Indigenous Canada. This course is designed from an Indigenous perspective. There are 12 segments with a short test at the end of each segment. It covers Indigenous activities from pre-settler days to the present including such things as Indigenous concepts of law, treaties and the fur trade plus 9 more.

I have read some of the material. It is easy to read and understand. I personally have learned a lot. HIP Executive Director, John Currie and 20,000 others have also taken the course. There is no cost. To find out more or enroll, go to There are probably other courses available but this is a good one!

Sincerely,  Chris Snyder     Chair, HIP      416-364-0181 Ext. 2501           905-990-1735