Roshan Danesh presents a talk entitled “Re-Telling Reconciliation” at the 2014 Association for Baha’i Studies North America Conference in Toronto, Canada.
In this talk Roshan Danesh looks at the tragic way in which colonizing peoples treated the indigenous inhabitants of the lands they settled, such as Canada, and reflects on our responsibility as Baha’is. He starts by recounting the story of Ali Nakhjavani’s visit to Canada in 2007, where he held a special meeting with First Nations representatives in Vancouver, speaking on the importance of the First Nations peoples, and he asked them to “help us”, rather than “let us help you”.
Abdu’l-Baha attached great importance to the indigenous peoples of America who will become so radiant that they will illuminate the world. We should focus on affirmation and recognition, since reconciliation must come from the inside out, reshaping our own thinking and feeling. People in Canada do not realize why we need reconciliation, but it is a necessary requirement for the Baha’i community. We need to align our means and ends, and how we converse, talk and speak are our means. Ali Nakhjavani, before his meeting, sought out knowledge on how to be respectful, and how to communicate meaningfully, with an understanding of history. Roshan Danesh closed his talk by inviting Louise Profeit-Leblanc to demonstrate her reconciliation blanket (which you can view here), which symbolized the removal of children and the outlawing of language of culture, giving way to the beginning of reconciliation and the first First Nations representatives on the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada and the ultimate coming together of nations.