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Monique Gray Smith is a mixed heritage woman of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish descent and is the proud mother of twelve-year-old twins. She is an award winning author, international speaker and sought-after consultant who has been running her business, Little Drum Consulting, since 1996. Monique’s first children’s book, My Heart Fills with Happiness was released in early February 2016 and has been on the BC Bestsellers List since being released. Monique’s strong understanding of education has led her to work as the Executive Director for Aboriginal Head Start Association of BC, and as the National Aboriginal Advisor for Roots of Empathy. Below, Monique answers three questions related to reconciliation and resilience.
What does reconciliation mean to you?
"Reconciliation is a journey, a journey of humanity and it is not going to happen overnight. The journey of reconciliation is an individual one, but it is also a journey for family, community and our country as a whole. To me, reconciliation is about the fostering of a country where each voice, lived experience and unique perspective is respected, valued and honoured."
What role does reconciliation play in cultivating resilience?
"When our children and each of us as citizens in this country understand the history, which is integral in reconciliation, then we also begin to truly understand the powerful resilience of Indigenous peoples. When we witness the resilience of others it can also be a spark for our own resilience."
What do you hope Heart-Mind 2016 attendees will learn from your talk?
"I hope they leave with a greater understanding of our collective history in this country, the incredible resilience of Indigenous peoples and the role each and every one of us has in reconciliation. In 20, 30, 40 years from now, we will all be elders and our children will be looking to us and the legacy we have left for them. Now is the time to decide and take action as to what we want that legacy to be."
Join us at Heart-Mind 2016 and be inspired by master storyteller, Monique Gray Smith. She will be presenting a keynote address the morning of Saturday, October 22, and hosting a Big Conversation/Small Group session that same afternoon.
Check out the profiles of other Heart-Mind 2016 keynote presenters:
by Jordan Lee and David Samis