Episode 11 | Guest: Laura Arndt
September 30th is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to help us learn and reflect on what we need to know and do. The Indigenous residential school system was designed to isolate Indigenous children from their culture, religion, and identity to assimilate them into the dominant colonial culture. The impacts of this repressive system are still felt today and injustices of the past have still not been reconciled.
To help us unpack the history and these complex ideas is Laura Arndt, Chief operating officer of Survivors’ Secretariat, a survivor-lead organization mandated to uncover the truth about unmarked burial grounds.
Laura is dedicated to the importance of dialogue and focuses her work on the complexity of kinship, relationships, and community through the lens of culture, identity, and belonging. She has diverse experience and is deeply committed to her work, community, and family. Laura is proudly Mohawk and clan member of the Six Nations of the Grand River, on the board of directors for Feathers of Hope, and regularly volunteers at the Jays Care Foundation. To add to her exhaustive list of expertise, she serves on the Ontario Law Society Tribunal, the Indigenous Advisory Circle for Right to Play Canada, and is a Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Studies at Queens University. In our conversation, she shares her knowledge as we discuss the history and the lasting negative legacy of the Canadian Indian residential school system. We learn about the important work she is doing, her personal connection with the work she does, and what motivates her. We also discuss the importance of justice, cultural identity and community, and how she approaches her work. She also shares simple steps to begin dialogue and book recommendations that will get you started. Don’t miss out on this inspiring conversation with Laura Arndt!
Key Points From This Episode:
- Laura gives us background about the Survivors’ Secretariat and its purpose and mandate.
- Learn about the many people and agencies Laura has worked with during her career.
- The focus of the Survivors’ Secretariat.
- How to support the work she does and build a path towards truth and reconciliation.
- Why survivors having a voice, feeling protected, and cultural identity is essential.
- The importance of engaging communities, establishing dialogue, and knowing the facts.
- Book recommendations that will inspire listeners to question and take action.
- A simple approach to practice in the workplace to begin a dialogue.
- An important takeaway message that Laura has for listeners.
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Laura Arndt Email
Six Nations of the Grand River
Feathers of Hope
Jays Care Foundation
Right to Play
Law Society Tribunal
A Knock at the Door
Anne-Marie Pham on LinkedIn
Anne-Marie Pham on Twitter