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Testing the waters: Building relationships through Reconciliation

McMaster University School of Social Work is pleased to announce Dr. Bonnie Freeman (PI) and Dr. Trish Van Katwyk (Co-Applicant) (University of Waterloo) as recipients of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Development Grant for their project titled, “Testing the Waters: Building Relationships through Reconciliation and a Two Row Research Paradigm”.

Jul 10, 2017

McMaster University School of Social Work is pleased to announce Dr. Bonnie Freeman (PI) and Dr. Trish Van Katwyk (Co-Applicant) (University of Waterloo) as recipients of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Development Grant for their project titled, “Testing the Waters: Building Relationships through Reconciliation and a Two Row Research Paradigm”.

The project is an exploratory community-based participatory research study which seeks to gain insight about how alliances are formed and maintained among the Haudenosaunee and neighbouring communities along the landscape and waterway of the Grand River, Ontario Canada. The key goal of this research is to learn how alliance initiatives are contributing to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and communities.

This project will allow Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to share their experience and address the challenges as they engage with each other during a community-driven alliance initiative. The study will begin with a scan of the alliance activities already underway along the Grand River in Ontario. An ethnographic exploration of The Two Row Canoe Journey will incorporate oral storytelling and videotaping participants, organizers and volunteers sharing their insights and experiences of reconciliation and alliance building. The project will explore how Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants find truth, acknowledgement, and healing through reconciliation and building alliances by using Indigenous knowledge and inquiry methods. This study integrates an indigenous methodological perspective of journeying which involves travelling on land or waterways by means of foot or canoe.

The study integrates the Two Row Wampum research paradigm developed by the community and is based on the Two Row Wampum Treaty and the Covenant Chain of Friendship. These treaties were originally between the Haudenosaunee and the Dutch, and later with the French, British and Canadians as a guide to co-existing together in peace, respect and friendship.

The need for this research has been identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Calls to Action (2015), as well as their experience with the 2016 community initiative, Two Row on the Grand River Canoe Journey, as little is known about reconciliation initiatives that have been promoted between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, youth and communities.

Congratulations to Bonnie and Trish!