Tribute to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

In recognition of the Year of Reconciliation and the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the Reading Bear Society (RBS) is dedicated to promoting principles of mutual recognition and respect. By doing so, the RBS acknowledges the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, on which we live, work, and learn.

Bear Family by Bella Bella artist Ben Houstie, used with permission. Sponsored by Native Northwest Vancouver, BC.

The truth telling and reconciliation process, as part of an overall holistic and comprehensive response to the Indian Residential School legacy, is a sincere indication and acknowledgement of the injustices and harms experienced by Aboriginal people and the need for continued healing. This is a profound commitment to establishing new relationships embedded in mutual recognition and respect that will forge a brighter future. The foundational principles of the RBS are set in Aboriginal knowledge and are an engaged commitment to facilitate reconciliation at the heart of our youth.

We draw upon the symbol of the bear, which is expressed in many West Coast First Nations’ cultures. It represents not only family and strength but also learned humility, teaching, and self-awareness. The bear learns humility through motherhood and teaches her cubs useful skills. The bear has many human-like qualities and is considered to have great self-awareness and an ability to deliberate about choices or actions. Sometimes referred to as the protector of the animal kingdom and forests, the bear is a well-respected member of the community and may be referred to as an elder or a person who has passed on to a new life (Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, n.d.).

The green and brown colours of the RBS logo reflect our respect for the environment and our acknowledgement that the preservation and sharing of Aboriginal knowledge is fundamental to healthy social-emotional being in our community.