Nicole Hajash, OneFeather’s VP Indigenous Engagement, recently was invited to present at a local TEDx event. Hajash’s presentation focused on 'reconsidering ways of reconciliation,' and was based on her unique experience working as an Electoral Officer with Indigenous communities across Canada with OneFeather, and her personal history as a member of a First Nation.
Hajash presented at a recent TEDx event held in Langford, a bedroom community of Victoria, BC located on the traditional lands of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations. The theme of the TEDx event in Langford was ‘The Turning Point.’
“If someone took away your right to vote what would you do? How long would you fight to get it back?” are some of the questions Hajash’s presentation attempts to answer.
Hajash is a member of the Da’naxda’xw First Nation, and her family originates from the village of Dzawadi, located on what is now the central coast of British Columbia. A lawyer by training, Hajash’s work as an electoral officer with OneFeather takes her across Canada, administrating votes in Indigenous communities with paper ballots and online voting.
“One day I’ll be at a polling station counting ballots to determine the next Chief of a community. The next I’ll be at a ratification of a code that will help a community take back control of their land from the federal government,” says Hajash in her TEDx presentation.
“My work with other Indigenous communities stands in stark contrast to what I have experienced in my own life,” Hajash explains. “In my community, we don’t vote for our leadership. My work is my own way of reconciliation.”
Hajash says her work, and her experience as a member of a First Nation gives her a unique perspective that has enabled me to think about Indigenous decision-making through a different lens.
“I get to work with other communities in ways I could only dream about for my own tribe,” said Hajash at TEDx.
“In the age of reconciliation, facilitating opportunities for indigenous people to have their voices heard with their "say" and their "choice" through their vote has been very empowering for them and for me,” Hajash says. “In my experience, one small piece of reconciliation is happening and being propelled by Indigenous people themselves, by asserting their voice and using it to make decisions about the things that matter most to them.”
We will share a summary of Hajash's TEDx presentation on the OneFeather blog soon, so please stay tuned!