The Legacy of Hope Foundation (LHF) focuses on community engagement, the backbone of Indigenous activism. Its work reflects the needs of Indigenous survivors, including inter-generational survivors. The LHF aims to foster reconciliation by educating Canadians about Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) history, including the impact on seven generations who experienced abuse at residential and day schools, to address racism in Canada.
The foundation fights misconceptions around Indigenous culture and history, including harmful stereotypes and ignorance regarding residential schools and the generational trauma that they caused.
For Casey Gransden, LHF HR and well-being manager, “This needs to be a part of the K-12 curriculum, to reach more Canadians, support a brighter future and address existing social and economic challenges.”
To carry out its mission, the foundation creates and distributes accessible educational material about Indigenous topics in the form of activity books, travelling exhibitions, workshops and resources. It has also begun creating healing resources for Indigenous survivors to support their well-being and cultural reclamation.
Gransden is proud of his work. In one project, he had spoken with an Indigenous survivor of abuse in Newfoundland and Labrador. She followed up with him to express her appreciation, as it was “the first time she felt seen or heard in three or four decades.” After reading her message, Gransden realized that he was representing LHF every time he was out in the community and that an important part of that role is to not only honour but give a voice to survivors across Canada.
As one of our community partners, LHF provides volunteering opportunities to uOttawa students and takes part in our Community Service Learning (CSL) program. Its placements create symbiotic relationships between itself and volunteers. Students come from various disciplines, such as political science, conflict studies and human rights, gender studies and medicine.
Tasks designated for volunteers are usually research driven, revolving around Indigenous culture and history education as well as forms of healing and well-being. Volunteers create articles to support proposals, scholarly articles and press releases, and perform other vital administrative tasks.
For Gransden, ‘’Every volunteer is welcome and appreciated! The fact that someone is coming to give their free time and effort for these tasks that are often tedious is so helpful.’’
As for what this brings to volunteers, they experience a sense of fulfilment from contributing to society, learn more about the cause, network and develop meaningful relationships.