A Jewish-Indigenous family explains the importance of truth and reconciliation

Bradley and Danelle with their three children. (Supplied photo)

Bradley Ockrant grew up in the heavily Jewish community of Thornhill, Ont. Ten years ago, after graduating high school, he was accepted to college in Thunder Bay. Within weeks of arriving, he met Danelle Clark, a First Nation’s woman. At first, she didn’t know he was Jewish—and he thought she was Asian.

Nonetheless, they’ve been together ever since. The Ockrants live in Danelle’s hometown of Beardmore, a community in Northern Ontario of 250 people, two hours north of Thunder Bay. It’s not always easy being the only Jew in town, but Bradley makes it work.

Today, for Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the couple joins to discuss their lives, what they’ve learned about each other’s cultures and why they’ll be wearing orange shirts for Orange Shirt Day.

We want to acknowledge that this podcast is made on the traditional territories of the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, and the Anishinaabe peoples, whose presence here continues to this day. I also would like to acknowledge the land I make this podcast on is at the meeting place of two treaties, the lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit and those of the First Nations of the Williams Treaty. We thank them and other Indigenous peoples for sharing this land with us.

What we talked about:

  • Learn more about the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at canada.ca
  • Learn about the meaning behind Orange Shirt Day at orangeshirtday.org
  • Listen to The CJN Daily episode featuring Carol Wylie, who paints survivors of the Holocaust and residential school system, at thecjn.ca


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network; find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.