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wahkotowin: how relationships are the foundation of cooperation within communities

Montreal Lake First Nation member, Charlotte Ross is a scholar, a student, a teacher of Indigenous languages, and a passionate advocate for understanding the proper historical context of Reconciliation.

Ross was recently a guest on our Your Way, Together webinar series. She led an engaging – and to date our most popular! – discussion on Reconciling our History that highlighted the importance of putting Reconciliation into context.

Framing the discussion around wahkotowin, a Cree word that reflects interconnectedness and kinship and how the human family is created through relationships, Ross says relationships are the foundation of cooperation within and amongst communities. These relationships evolve and grow over time under the proper care.

The economy is also about relationships and, just as importantly, people. And Ross suggests that the concept of economic Reconciliation is now embedded in a broader history of Indigenous peoples in North America. To provide an example, she points to trade.

Trade, she suggests, is a form of cooperation and a key part of Indigenous people’s culture and heritage. Ross says this was true before contact with explorers and settlers. More than that, the economy in North America was thriving and dynamic. Groups all over Turtle Island were involved in various forms of trade and commerce. And you see this history in Indigenous languages, she says.

Read the rest at Co-operatives First


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