June is National Indigenous Peoples History Month in Canada, with June 21marking National Indigenous Peoples Day. This year, following the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at two former residential school sites in Canada (with the devastating understanding that there are undoubtedly many more lost children to bring home and families to heal), we must confront unspeakable truths about our past and present, and unlearn the settler history so many of us were taught. In 2021, here are some ways forward:
1) Listen to a brand-new The Conference Board podcast feat. Hon. Murray Sinclair, Former Chair, Truth & Reconciliation Commission: http://ow.ly/aGIz50Ffnhx
2) Consider taking Indigenous Canada, a FREE 12-hr course from the University of Alberta that explores Indigenous peoples and emerging issues from a historical perspective (fur trade and other exchange relationships, land claims, legal systems and rights, political conflicts, contemporary Indigenous life and art, and more.
3) MCC member? Sign up your team for a FREE Kairos Blanket Exercise thanks to Manitoba 150 and APTN: The virtual “Blanket Exercise” was developed by KAIROS in collaboration with Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers and educators, to inspire communities to engage in truth sharing, dialogue, and a chance to take strength from the past. Each is an opportunity to build more understanding about our shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples. To express your interest:
4) Support Indigenous artists, artisans, retailers, suppliers, and businesses. Learn about the economic development potential of FNUDAs like the former Kapyong Barracks site: https://treaty1.ca/kapyong/
5) Imagine your family living with undrinkable water like many of Manitoba’s Indigenous communities: https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1614385724108/1614385746844
6) Learn about residential schools, the 60s Scoop, and the current state of Indigenous children in care. Start on the Government of Canada site: https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1621447127773/1621447157184 Access the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation online, for a vast repository of archives and resources including 94 Calls to Action. Call to action 92 is for corporate Canada: “We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources.” Read the report here.
7) Read about UNDRIP, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted in 2007 by a majority (144 states for, and four votes against, including originally opposed by Canada): Today the Declaration is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples. It establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world and it elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to the specific situation of indigenous peoples. To read about UNDRIP, click here.
8) If you’re part of an educational facility: This year, thanks to an investment from RBC, Every Child Matters is growing from a single day to a full week of online and broadcast educational programming for students in Grades 5 to 12 all across Canada. From September 27 to October 1, Truth and Reconciliation Week 2021 will continue the conversation about the truths of First Nations Treaties, the Métis and Inuit Land Claims, and the residential school system in the days leading up to Orange Shirt Day and the newly legislated National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30. If you’re a teacher, you can register here for this online event. You can also learn about mukluk traditions through The Storyboots School, an initiative of Manitobah Mukluks.
9) Read this CBC article: Dead Reckoning: Canada’s national cemetary is bringing truth about residential schools to light.
10) Listen with empathy and an open heart. ♥️