Culture is a strong part of people's lives, even when we take it for granted and don't realize it. Our culture influences our views, our values, our humor, our hopes, our loyalties, and our worries and fears. When we are working with people and building relationships with them, it helps to have some perspective and understanding of their culture.
But as we explore culture, it's also important to remember how much we have in common. People see the world very differently, but they know what it is like to wake up in the morning and feel joy or sorrow for what faces us. We are all human beings. We all love and need love, want to learn and have something to teach others, have hopes and dreams, and have experienced pain and fear.
At the same time, we can't pretend our cultures and differences don't matter. We can't gloss over differences and pretend they don't exist, wishing we could all be alike. 1 Many people we meet at Oak Table do not have the benefit of knowing their culture. Residential Schools cut them off from family, traditions, and learning about their spirituality. Many people we meet at Oak Table do not have the benefit of knowing their culture.
At Oak Table we want to ensure our guests have accessible, culturally appropriate activities available. We believe it is important that our guests can see the reflection of themselves in someone we hire at a leadership level in our organization. It is important our Indigenous guests can connect, reconnect or experience for the first time, the richness of their culture and spirituality. A grant through 1JustCity allowed us to hire an Indigenous Cultural Programmer. This position provides opportunities for our guests and exposure to their cultural teachings. It helps all of us understand the significance of the tee-pee, medicine bags, dream catchers, the seven sacred teachings.
We have many cultures represented by our staff, volunteers and guests. We believe exploring some of these cultures will promote understanding and enrich our community.