Decolonizing the Heart Workshop: Deep Learning for Deep Change

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Toronto United Mennonite Church

1774 Queen Street East

Toronto, ON M4L 1G7


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Event description
Reconciliation requires building relationships. Building relationships requires more than coming together over issues. Where do we begin?

About this Event

Decolonizing the Heart: Deep Learning for Deep Change

So, you’ve done a KAIROS Blanket Exercise, now what?

You feel helpless at how messed up the world is, what do you do?

You want to work with people – but they seem so different. Where do you begin?

This is a workshop to address questions like these. Reconciliation requires building relationships; building relationships requires more than coming together over issues; decolonizing our own hearts is necessary before we can work together for transformation.

We begin by sharing our stories.

We tell stories to make sense of our world. Using geno-graphing, we explore the stories into which we are born - the struggles of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and further into our lineage. We strive to understand their lives within an historical, social, economic and political context. We need this grounding so that we can move beyond sympathy into empathy and compassion.

We consider our own stories through William Ury's proposition that "all conflicts arise from the failure to have needs met." We use a scarcity-needs-based conflict analysis approach using the Medicine Wheel framework whereby we examine the spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual aspects of our human needs.

Our aim in this day-long workshop is to explore ways of being that keep us apart and ways that bring us together. Through this process we hope to understand the work we require for balance and harmony.

Some of the topics we cover are motivation, identity formation, media literacy, privilege, concepts of spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual intelligence, critical communication strategies, understanding the political economy of the production of knowledge, and more.

Some of the tools we’ll be using are storytelling, role-playing, mapping social relationships, effective facilitation skills, fundamentals for having difficult conversations, and more.

This workshop is also appropriate for people and organizations that are dealing with issues of lateral violence.

Join us in understanding scarcity-needs-based conflict and how it informs all of our interactions. Gain insight into understanding why people resist and how they can be motivated towards social change.

Day's Programme



Personal Stories – Why did you come to this workshop?

Scarcity and Needs-based Analysis

Gift Economy Foundations & the 7 Grandmothers

Medicine Wheel Teachings

Indigenizing object relations theory

Privilege Walk

A vegetarian lunch of split pea soup and salad will be provided. Please email us at decoltheheart@gmail.com to inform us of any dietary restrictions.


Identity Formation & Personal Stories

Geno-graphing – Placing ourselves and our families in history and memory with the Medicine Wheel

What does this mean to anti-Oppression work and reconciliation?

Calling in – sympathy, empathy and compassion

Debriefing/evaluations/next steps

Facilitator Bio

DM Marchand-Lafortune is an advocate, artist – music, photography, writer (poetry, essayist, short-stories, short-stories, philosophy and legal theory), film-maker, educator and teacher. She is trained as a lawyer (constitutional appellate law) and is a certified Alternative Dispute Resolution Specialist. She is a leading voice in the development of the theory and practice of equity and inclusion policy.

DM was born of a Cree-Métis mother and Ashkenazi/Sephardic Jewish father. She was taken from her mother at 7 days old. She was later adopted and raised by an Acadian/Mi'kmaq man and a Scottish woman. The many truths she's learned about her pluralistic identity have given her a deep understanding of Franz Fanon's claim, “I must understand everything because I belong nowhere.” She further this quote with: “If you know that – you know how to “be” anywhere.

The venue for this event is accessible. ASL interpretation is not offered at this time.

Contact Details

For all questions, to request accommodations or to inform us of dietary restrictions, please email us at decoltheheart@gmail.com.

Please reach out to discuss group rates for organizations!

Pay What You Can registrations available by email. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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Toronto United Mennonite Church

1774 Queen Street East

Toronto, ON M4L 1G7


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