(All mentioned documents are linked directly to the original source.)
The preamble to the new strategy document outlines very nicely what a better Yukon for all means: “A socially inclusive society is one where all people feel valued, their differences are respected, and their basic needs are met so they can live with dignity. It is a society where everyone has the opportunity to participate and to have their voice heard.’ (p. 8) And it continues with deep insight about social exclusion: it “is the result of barriers in the social, economic, political and cultural systems” (p. 8).
In the introduction, the scope of the strategy is presented as a guideline to social policy development; or in other words, how government will facilitate a way of meaningfully living together. From the research the government conducted, it concluded that service delivery and access to services appear the main reasons for the fact that some people in the Yukon do not feel included. Furthermore, “poverty is one of the most obvious factors contributing to social exclusion, but social exclusion also stems from and is exacerbated by inadequate education, housing, health, social participation, employment and access to services (p. 8)”.
The Government of Yukon has recently released its long-awaited
Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Strategy
It has been in the works for a while and there were several delays in releasing the document. But I am glad that it has finally seen the light. The entire strategy document can be downloaded from the following page: A Better Yukon. On the same page, the government released the 2010 background research report: Dimensions of Social Inclusion and Exclusion.
A socially inclusive society is one where all people feel valued, differences are respected and basic needs are met so they can live with dignity. Barriers in social, economic, political and cultural systems can prevent people from being part of their community. Everyone is affected by social exclusion and poverty, and everyone plays a role in finding solutions.
A Yukon where social exclusion and poverty are eliminated, diversity is celebrated, and all Yukoners have the opportunity to prosper and participate to their full potential, free from prejudice and discrimination.
The strategy document provides guiding principles, goals, and a commitment to measure success.
Last week, the Available Light Cinema film series in Whitehorse screened the new documentary by local director Mitch Miyagawa with the catchy title “A Sorry State”. Indeed, much of what we read in the news about politics, be it at the level of the territorial government, the federal government, or many national governments around the world, supports the impression that this world is in a sorry state.
But do not fear: I am not going to write a lament about our current political situation. I’ll leave that for other writers in local newspapers that dared to describe our cage-fighting MP a sock puppet of the Prime Minister… (Yukon News)
The last few workdays, I had a chance to be with people in a professional manner again. Yes, it is in many ways a different way of being, no matter what the personal intention behind it is. There is often a very clear mandate, a professional framework, and whole lot of professional culture that determines in various ways the interactions and relationships in such a setting. I have considerable experience in the field of nursing, which operates within the health care system. This most recent experience was in the field of education. I found many commonalities in how we as professionals relate to those in our care.
The most limiting factor I find is the schedule – the work hours. Although the job mandates to relate to people, work hours are a very foreign framework: They are governed by transactional considerations in collective agreements, agency funding, institutional culture, and individual rights and responsibilities. I find this internally inconsistent with the mandate of being with – of relating to people with multiple needs. How often are we forcing our professional expertise (“we know what to do, what is best for you”), our learning goals and plans, our labour benefits (such as break times) onto the individual lives of those who we care for during work hours? It is not possible to catch that learning window when it is open, we have to pry it open: It is time to do crafts, music therapy, spell and sign… because our schedule demands it at this point.
Many times I have been frustrated by these constraints. But I have also witnessed, that it is so much easier, successful, and satisfying to be with people and weave the learning goals and activities into daily living (instead of simulating a formal lesson): Why not sing and engage in musical activity when the person we are caring for is open to engage, even if it is while out on a walk? The squirrels and ravens don’t mind if I sing and if we clap the rhythm to the song together.
Today I am going to tell you a story of a gifted little boy born on the shores of Lake Constance. He grew up in a place where he would speak an Alamannic German at home and Latin in more formal settings. He was born into a privileged family: He got the chance to go to school at an early age. The intent was to groom him for service in the royal administration. For his postsecondary education he is being sent abroad where people speak Romansch. There he lives in a palace with the family of a powerful mentor. After he mastered the sciences, he continued to study theology and became a priest.
The young man wanted to return to the shores of Lake Constance, but his mentor had a strategic placement for him in mind. He served for a number of years as parish priest and gained a reputation for compassionate service and his special attention for the marginalized. Eventually, he got called by an even more powerful landlord to establish a monastery in the woods of the Steinach valley. The local ruler secured a royal order to do so, and thus to establish a cultural and religious defence post on the margins of competing jurisdictions.