Canoe? No, not yet

Two canoes are filled with Canadian senators, MPs, former chiefs, and other dignitaries dressed in casual clothes and wearing life vests. They are being greeted by a representative of Songhees Nation on the first day of Victoria Forum 2022 while a group of other conference attendees wait on the embankment above the canoes.

This past week was a whirlwind of activities for me. Beginning on Sunday, I attended a three-day conference which was co-hosted by the Senate of Canada and the University of Victoria Peter B. Gustavson School of Business while also attempting to finalise the HREB application for my Master’s in Community Development capstone research project. I believe that both my supervisor and I are aligned in terms of what how I would like for the project to proceed. At the same time, there are some aspects of the whole process which cool my ardor for the academic process due to how regimented and non-flexible it appears.

When I inevitably find my energy waning and my enthusiasm for this project decreasing, one thing I know I can do to re-engage my excitement is to look at this image below, which was taken on the first day of Victoria Forum 2022.

Because I was still a little hesitant about my mobility at the beginning of this week, I remained seated while the speakers and dignitaries of the event announced themselves, introduced their delegations, and stated their reasons for coming to Victoria to members of Songhees Nation who welcomed them onto the shore. Due to the ICAT training I received earlier in the summer, I now know that this is the proper protocol to follow when you leave your home and visit another land where Indigenous/First Nations people still live.

Two canoes are filled with Canadian senators, MPs, former chiefs, and other dignitaries dressed in casual clothes and wearing life vests. They are being greeted by a representative of Songhees Nation on the first day of Victoria Forum 2022 while a group of other conference attendees wait on the embankment above the canoes.
Awaiting the dignitaries during the Opening Ceremony and Welcome for Victoria Forum 2022 © T.L. Renken-Sebastian

Throughout all three days of the conference, it was so gratifying to know that everyone attending the conference knows that the status quo is no longer sufficient if we want to ensure a better future for many generations of people to come after us. Almost everyone to whom I described my research project or to whom I gave one of my hastily-printed business cards was enthusiastic about my research and stated that they thought it was worthwhile and important research to be doing.

I am eager to begin; yet, I know I must wait.

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