Several years ago I was a part of leading a youth program at a church in York Region. While there, we made a shift in our programming from a large, attractional model towards something more organic and communal. It was all about working with youth to create safe spaces where they could belong.

At the time I was drawing from a variety of sources (missional writers, church historians, and other thinkers in community building). I had also read a fairly popular book by Seth Godin that inspired me to name our new program model ‘Tribes’. In my ignorance and excitement, I failed to consider the way I was appropriating that term from indigenous communities for my own exploitative benefit.

Settlers have an ongoing history of stealing Indigenous culture at their expense and to our benefit1 and I acknowledge my own culpability in doing this here.

I offer this semi-public acknowledgement of my failure as a way of hopefully pointing people in the direction of learning to do better together.

I highly recommend reading the late Arthur Manuel’s book, The Reconciliation Manifesto if you would like to deepen your awareness on this subject.

Other ways to grow:


  1. This is to say nothing of the centuries of genocide, land theft, psychological and physical abuse, racism, and erasure that we enacted and continue to enact here in Canada towards Indigenous people. ↩︎