Alberta photographer’s book aims to advance reconciliation

A Calgary-based photographer is sharing his journey of reconciliation in hopes that his experience can help non-Indigenous Canadians "rebuild proper and respectful” relationships with First Nations.

Joey Podlubny builds his narrative through photos, stories and individual profiles gleaned from more than 15 years of visiting the First Nations community of Janvier, in northeast Alberta.

Podlubny, former staff photographer at JWN, says his new book, The Four Directions of Reconciliation: Knowledge Solution Agreement Consultation, should be of particular interest to the oil and gas industry, helping to fulfill one of the calls to action from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015.

"Corporate Canada has been called to adopt and apply the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. This book helps fulfill that call to action by disseminating UNDRIP and helping create context on what it means to Canadians. It also helps corporate Canada understand more about the history of colonization, residential schools and about the agreements we live under,” he says.

"The Canadian oil and gas industry leads the world in environmental and social responsibility. This book will help continue that path by sharing the UNDRIP framework of reconciliation and helping corporate Canada develop mutually beneficial and productive relationships with First Nations people."

Reconciliation starts with new gaining new perspectives, Podlubny says, freely admitting that his own path has at times been challenging.

“We need to venture inward, questioning our beliefs, our motives, and the imbalance that exists. In order for us to gain new knowledge and understanding we [also] need to venture outward to experience the culture and beliefs of our neighbours,” he writes in Four Directions.

“You will read about my own path of reconciliation, about the fears I faced and the limiting beliefs I had as I went on a personal journey to understand why we are still struggling to find balance and respect for each other.

“I believe these images, stories and knowledge will help more non-Indigenous Canadians understand our roles and responsibilities in these agreements we live under.”

The book is currently listed on amazon.com and will be available this month across Canada at select Indigo stores.