kinSHIFT: a powerful—and local—way to learn about Truth and Reconciliation
Kelly Terbasket of IndigenEYEZ has created a new sister organization for allies—kinSHIFT. Launched this spring, kinSHIFT is a tailored set of workshops for non-Indigenous allies who want to take the next step. Designed in response to increasing requests from people who want to be genuine allies, kinSHIFT is a safer space to do the work.
As a person of mixed heritage, I've always felt the divide between cultures and wanted to be part of bridging awareness and understanding between the different realities. The bridge between cultures is literally where I’ve lived.
I’ve been working on creating culturally safer spaces for Indigenous communities for over 2 decades and intensively so since we started IndigenEYEZ in 2014. Over the past few years, increasing numbers of non-Indigenous people have asked if IndigenEYEZ would offer ally-specific workshops. Informed by my own mixed Sylix Okanagan and German-English settler heritage, I felt moved to create kinSHIFT. We have begun offering reconciliation workshops as part of a social enterprise to diversify our revenue and increase the sustainability of our Indigenous community empowerment programs. These new workshops are grounded in Sylix perspectives while focusing on the questions and needs of non-Indigenous allies.
KinSHIFT is for settlers who are ready to collaborate on change. The first step is understanding there are continuing impacts of colonization. Ongoing and persistent patterns are embedded in our systems and infrastructure. These will take the strong partnership of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working together. Beyond the talk, the work needs to start at the personal level while understanding how individuals and systems are intertwined. Our schools, our friends, and our media have subtly influenced our entire lives–revisiting that is where kinSHIFT starts.
We can’t address bias if it stays hidden behind political correctness. It’s very important to have space for allies to have these conversations. If there are Indigenous people present, it’s harder to dig into the baggage we carry because we don’t want to say the wrong thing. But at the same time, openness in these conversations is essential when we’re exploring our shadows. They are called shadows for a reason—we don’t see them and we need help to uncover them.
This is how we will move forward together. Allies can learn from kinSHIFT workshops how to respond to comments such as: “It’s terrible, but it’s in the past, right?” These workshops help allies build up the groundedness to feel strong enough to speak out when there is a need to find better ways in our circles.
Participants tell us that they find kinSHIFT to be a powerful and local way to learn and reflect about TRC. Jude Brunt is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Purppl in Kelowna. She arrived from England 20 years ago.
“The KinSHIFT workshops are incredibly helpful,” she says, “to start learning more about how we truly can all work together for a better path forward. They are approachable, thought provoking, engaging—and most importantly– they cause a SHIFT inside you.”
As a social enterprise, proceeds from kinSHIFT go to support the empowerment work that IndigenEYEZ does with local youth and communities. Our vision is a world in which Indigenous peoples are living an intergenerational legacy of well-being. Our work is guided by principles of interconnectedness and responsibility to one another and to the land. Our innovative trainings combine cutting-edge practices in community building, the arts, and land-based methodologies to instill skills that support healthier relationships and increased capacity to come together for the wellbeing of all. Since our first workshops, we have reached more than 9,000 youth and adults through 200+ workshops and 30 youth camps.
Frontline worker Heather Adamson shared this feedback about an IndigenEYEZ workshop in Penticton: “I have spent much time reflecting on the experience and what I learned from you, from others, and from myself in those two days. It was a transformative experience and I continue to be inspired by what I heard and felt in that room.”
A youth participant at one of our summer camps shared: “This experience reminded me of where I come from. I felt so much pride for my culture and being First Nations. My life will be different because of all the love at this camp that gave me so much confidence.”
Natalie Chambers teaches Indigenous Studies at OC—she is a settler whose husband and children are Syilx. She has participated in IndigenEYEZ trainings and more recently, as an associate facilitator with KinSHIFT workshops. “For the past 20 years, I’ve been trying to engage settlers in discussions about whose homelands we live on and continue to occupy, and to raise awareness of colonial violence and Indigenous Peoples ongoing resistance and resilience.”
“With KinSHIFT, participants are gently invited to reflect on and reconnect to relationships and reciprocal responsibilities to Indigenous Peoples and homelands in a way that is deeply moving and profoundly authentic. Workshops invite settlers to engage a deeper understanding of what it means to be a settler, and to explore how implicit bias, power, and privilege continue to reproduce colonialism today. I would love to see all faculty, staff and employees at OC experience this shift.”
Limləmt | Thank you,
As Program Director of IndigenEYEZ, Kelly is known for her energizing, out-of-the-box workshops. Coming from a mixed heritage, Kelly has been bridging distinct worlds all her life, weaving together the strengths of her Syilx and European ancestry. She brings 30 years of community development at the community, nation, and provincial levels.
Kelly is focused on the role of relationships in systems change and is sought out for her capacity to help deepen relations at a time in history when connections across differences are essential. Kelly has a BSW, Executive Coaching Certification, and extensive training in Creative Facilitation through Partners for Youth Empowerment (PYE Global). She lives in her family’s ancestral home on the Blind Creek Reserve in Syilx territory in the South Okanagan-Similkameen.
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