Common Ground, Stronger Voices

For almost 10 years, IRCOM has been engaged in reconciliation activities.

Through authentic partnerships with Indigenous peoples and organizations, IRCOM strives to enhance relationships and foster understanding between newcomers to Canada and Indigenous peoples, moving us further along the journey of truth and reconciliation.
We began with the realization that while our job is to help newcomers learn about their new country in order to successfully integrate, a huge gap existed in terms of accurate knowledge of Indigenous peoples and the history and legacy of over 500 years of colonization. Myths and stereotypes abounded among newcomer arrivals. IRCOM began to connect with organizations such as Ka Ni Kanichihk (youth education activities) and the Treaty Relations Commission to support our learning. We made our commitment concrete and worked with Dufferin School to co-host a parenting program called Wiggle Giggle Munch that included both Indigenous and newcomer parents and their children. As we learned more about how to create opportunities for greater connection and understanding, the TRC Calls to Action came out and put our work into sharper focus. In 2015, IRCOM’s Board identified one of its top 4 Strategic Priorities to be “Nurturing Strong Indigenous-Newcomer Relations” and again in 2018, our Board ratified a new Strategic Plan for 2018-21, which includes “Encouraging Meaningful Indigenous-Newcomer Relationships” as again, one of four strategic priorities for the next 3 years. “Actively pursuing Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous communities” has continued to be a part of the strategic priorities for the 2021-2025 strategic plan.
We continue to build our partnerships with other organizations in order to best serve the community and promote education and relationship building.

For the past few years, this program has been working with partners to provide participants with opportunities for connection and learning through initiatives such as Common Ground with sākihiwē festival, a community celebration held at Gord Dong Park. Cold City, Warm Hearts with Rossbrook House where youth from both organizations are brought together to enjoy winter activities, and Land Based Learning with Mount Carmel Clinic.