The Circle: An Everlasting Relationship

March 1st, 2018 | Sandra Sutter

The Circle for Aboriginal Relations was established in 2004 after a clear gap was identified regarding the fostering and eventual flourishing of relationships between those invested in Aboriginal Relations, whether they be from communities, industry or governmental entities. CFAR is a safe space to learn, network, understand and grow as a professional system within the space of Aboriginal Relations. Many of those who have worked within the Aboriginal Relations sector know and appreciate how important and integral a circle is to the Indigenous peoples of North America. The circle is a representation portraying a countless amount of knowledge and teachings that are particular to individual communities. Some of the commonalities that the circle represents throughout various Indigenous belief systems are: the cycle of life, relationships, seasons, stages in growth, the sacred medicines and animals, the four directions, the elements, and the four races of humankind; Yellow, Red, Black and White. It is extremely important to CFAR to acknowledge that all four of the races of humankind are represented within the Aboriginal Relations sector, and that we must share and learn with and from each other. No one is all-knowing in regard to Aboriginal/Indigenous Relations; in Canada alone, there are 634 registered First Nations, numerous nations that are not recognized as First Nations, many established and proud Métis settlements and communities, and our distinguished and unfaltering Inuit relatives to the north. There is no blanket statement or one-size-fits-all template when it comes to working with an Indigenous community; each is unique and extraordinary. One individual’s experience working with an Indigenous community in the far east of Canada will be in complete contrast when compared to another’s experience working on the prairies. Yet, despite the apparent differences in community structure, language, familial and clan ties or epistemologies, one can conclude that a particular commonality between all Indigenous peoples of Canada is their right to claim traditional territory. As Aboriginal Relations representatives, we have a duty to consult with the Indigenous peoples regarding all development, exploration, production or any means of development or any work that will be conducted on the traditional territory of Turtle Island. Representing the Circle for Aboriginal Relations, representing the four races of human kind, it is our obligation and responsibility to respect and acknowledge the traditional lands of the Indigenous peoples of Canada, and to learn and grow constantly with communities, nations, and our CFAR brothers and sisters.

Blog by Holly Atjecoutay