Image of a kitchen table with a vase of flowers on top

Kitchen Table Guide for Reconciliation Dialogue

Justice, Equity & Inclusion


This activity contains the structure and guidelines for a constructive conversation about reconciliation. This conversation is action-oriented. This conversation can be facilitated with all groups of people, however the facilitator must spend time preparing the space and leading the conversation to ensure the safety of all participants.

Who is Reconciliation Canada? 

Our Vision: A vibrant Canada where all peoples achieve their full potential and shared prosperity. 

Our Purpose: We are an Indigenous-led organization that catalyzes meaningful relationships through values-based dialogue, leadership and action.

Reconciliation Canada’s Approach to Reconciliation-

Our goal and approach to reconciliation is to shed light on our shared Canadian history of the Indian Residential School system and the multi-generational impacts left behind. In addition, in order to highlight the diversity and resiliency of Canadian people, we believe it is important to acknowledge other historical injustices that have occurred in Canada. Our goal here is not to compare one injustice to another, but instead to learn from each affected community and their path towards reconciliation.

A Kitchen Table Dialogue creates space for constructive conversation on an issue of concern in the comfort of a community or cultural space, or colleague’s home. This do-it-yourself framework allows Indigenous peoples and all Canadians the opportunity to gather their friends, family, neighbours and/or colleagues and join the dialogue on reconciliation and the movement towards a new way forward for all peoples in Canada. 

Time & Set-Up: 

Make this work for you! As the name suggests, these dialogues are meant to take place in a casual, comfortable and culturally inclusive environment such as a home or community space. If working with colleagues, we encourage you to host this dialogue outside of the office environment in order to create a sense of ease and comfort for the participants. Try to choose a space that will comfortably fit 6-8 people around a table, or in a circle format. This space should be free of distractions or interruptions for approximately 3 hours. 


*All printable materials found in ‘Source’.

  1. A copy of the Kitchen Table Dialogue Agenda for each participant
  2. A copy of the Facilitation Guidelines
  3. Circulate an electronic version of the Reconciliation Dialogue Workshop Guide one week in advance of your dialogue
  4. A copy of Back Pocket Reconciliation Action Plan for each participant
  5. A copy of Reconciliation Begins with Me for each participant
  6. Print out 2-4 copies of Dialogue Guidelines for the table
  7. Refreshments (coffee/tea and water) or a meal and Kleenex – make your fellow participants comfortable

Your Role

You are here because you are interested in finding your role in reconciliation, and we applaud and thank you for your courage! We are counting on you to start the conversation within your circles, to encourage openness and renewed relationships and most importantly, simply to invite your community to take part in this movement and to find a new way forward for all peoples in Canada.


Invite those who have expressed interest in reconciliation, an openness to communicate and a willingness to hear and consider diverse or opposing views. 

If appropriate, we encourage you to invite a diverse group, keeping safety for all as a top priority: different age groups, cultural backgrounds and/ or professional backgrounds. Ensure that if any Indian Residential School (IRS) Survivors or intergenerational Survivors are present, and are willing to share their experience and story, that every safety precaution is taken to ensure their wellbeing. 


Will you facilitate the dialogue, or will you ask a friend or colleague who is keen and has facilitation experience? Decide this well in advance of the dialogue so that the facilitator has ample time to review the dialogue format and discussion questions. Facilitator reminders: participants are to be mindful of shared space and time, all participants must have equal opportunity to contribute and, prompt those who are hesitant, and politely remind those who overspeak to be mindful of their group members. 

Health and Safety

It is very important that as the host, you understand the importance of safe, welcoming and accepting space, not only physical space but also emotional and mental. Recognize that wellness is a critical and integral part of a reconciliation journey. Invite participants to help you design and maintain this space, and encourage participants to practice self-care and use any resources available to them to help them along the journey. Understand that some participants may need to excuse themselves temporarily or permanently from the dialogue due to the highly sensitive and for some, deeply personal nature of the history of IRS system and intergenerational trauma. 


  • Speak on behalf of yourself only 
  • If you are not speaking, your job is to listen wholeheartedly 
  • Every participant is invited to take care of their own needs (bathroom break, personal time away from the circle) 
  • Being in a circle allows us to co-create safety for ourselves and one another 
  • While recognizing personal traumas, the focus for the circle is to increase greater understanding of the need for reconciliation Ideas for Impactful Dialogue 
  • Listen openly to ideas; be curious and listen to understand 
  • Assume best intentions; clumsy words can be a sign of learning 
  • Speak honestly and leave time for silence, emotion and vulnerability 
  • Remember that everyone has a responsibility to make space for all voices to be heard

Dialogue Preparation

In preparation, please read and encourage your fellow participants to read the Reconciliation Dialogue Workshop Guide, including the additional resources provided: 

  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 94 Calls to Action 
  • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 
  • First Peoples: A Guide for Newcomers