Stepping Up

Stepping Up: A Learning Journey for Settler Canadians

As Settler (non-Indigenous) Canadians working with Horizons Community Development Associates we believe that most non-Indigenous Canadians want to ‘Step-Up’ and take part in the journey toward reconciliation. But this desire is often blocked by fear, confusion, and uncertainty; we wonder what we can possibly do, we think we don’t know enough, we fear that we might say or do the wrong thing and make matters worse. Gathering together as Settlers helps move us beyond these feelings and hesitations to a place of accountability and action.


As we talk about the values and beliefs guiding relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples we come to know more about ourselves and our country. We learn to recognize how Euro-Western values and beliefs have sometimes given rise to harmful policies and practices. We discover the stories that have arisen to explain this harm, and think about alternative stories. We practice having difficult conversations and support each other in taking meaningful personal or professional action. The following beliefs guide our conversations…


  • Truth and justice must precede reconciliation
  • It is time for us to “Step Up” and accept our responsibility for creating new relationships with Indigenous Peoples and Nations
  • We need to ‘do our own work’, we cannot expect Indigenous Peoples to continually teach us
  • We need to know ourselves, to ‘turn the gaze inward’ and learn more about our history, our governance, our language, our relationship to land
  • While we hold ourselves accountable to Indigenous Peoples we cannot not teach about Indigenous beliefs, history, knowledge, culture, and practices

Horizons has developed a variety of ways for Settlers to come together. A 12-hour face to face citizenship education course was offered in 2018 and 2019 and we hope to be able to offer this again in the future. This course is currently being adapted for online delivery in the spring or summer of 2021. We also offer professional development opportunities structured to meet the needs of non-profits, institutions, businesses, or other organizations. Finally we are able to do workshops and/or short presentations for community groups. Please contact if you are interested starting these important conversations within your community, organization, or institution.


For more information about our Citizen Education Course, please click here.

For more information about our professional development opportunities, please click here.


Participant Testimonials

The course provided the true history of the Colonization of First Nations people by the British, as well as interactive and powerful exercises. It equipped me with the knowledge and experiential processes to examine my hidden biases and incorrect assumptions. It also empowered me to engage in conversations and initiatives to be a participating Treaty person advancing Truth & Reconciliation within my small sphere of influence.


There is so much that “we”/settlers need to do before we can actually be ready to engage in something as significant as reconciling.


Truth and Reconciliation means so much more to me now. I realize and admit I have a much larger role to play in the entire matter. We all do. I understand that almost every benefit I have in my life came at a great cost to the Indigenous peoples of Canada, and that there were many uncomfortable truths that were hidden throughout history on the part of settlers.


I do not think Reconciliation can take place until we learn these truths, accept them as our history and then take action in positive, thoughtful and respectful ways.