Conference Values and Principles Statement

This conference will be based on a series of fundamental values and principles that will guide how the organizers develop and run the event and should inform how presenters and attendees shape their contributions.

The first fundamental value is our respect for all human beings’ dignity, rights, and ability to flourish socially, culturally, and economically. In this specific place, this also means recognition of the fact that we convene on the traditional, unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, and in particular the Songhees nation’s traditional home. We say this not simply to acknowledge this fact in the spirit of reconciliation, but also to help advocate for social justice and equity in the treatment of our indigenous peoples. We must, collectively, take action to address the material and spiritual injustices of settler colonialism.

Informed by the primacy of the struggle above, we also recommit to the universal value of a holistic approach to health and wellness that should form principles that guide our human caring practices in healthcare and education. Holism is a way of thinking that is shared by many cultures as well as being a central principle of indigenous understandings of health and wellness.

The Conference organizers also recognize that the values of social justice and equity apply more generally, and should be interpreted through the lens of intersectionality, allowing us to take account of how people suffer through multiple forms of oppressive structures, particularly through the categories of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation. We encourage participants to offer contributions that address the many topics and issues that relate to these broad values.

Finally, in order to do this work, we need to be able to recognize and negotiate power dynamics in and through collaborative processes of change. With the fundamental assumption that people, particularly those suffering oppression (both contemporary and historical), have the capacity for self-emancipation, we must be willing to collaborate with our colleagues and partners, locally, nationally, and internationally in the community to support these efforts, and cede power to those we intend to help and care for.

The commitment to collaboration and participatory processes will be a key feature in the conference and will be embedded in the format of our presentations and in the content of the substantive program.