With reconciliation being discussed in communities, in classrooms, in boardrooms and on the floor of Parliament, there is an upwelling of interest and passion for engagement with Indigenous rights in Canada. Canadians are leaning in to understand the history of Indigenous Peoples, and to know the underlying issues of colonization and assimilation, to know where we each individually stand in relation to treaties, to reconciliation, and most of all to truth. Indigenous Peoples are participating in this dialogue about reconciliation in community, and in the courtrooms they are defending their ‘constitutionally enshrined rights’, all while they continue to live without equitable access to clean water, to health care, and to education.
The colonial period in which we currently live is characterized by Crown sovereignty being exercised without regard or respect for Indigenous land and resources rights. Reconciliation is, at law, a promise made to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada and enshrined in the Constitution Act, 1982. Today, acts of reconciliation are essential as they are about forcing Crown sovereignty to take account of and be reconciled with rights reflecting the prior use and occupation of land and resources by the Indigenous nations of Canada.
We have compiled some of our favorite educational resources with excerpts below:
8 Key Issues for Indigenous Peoples in Canada:
“Eight of the key issues that are of greatest concern for Indigenous Peoples in Canada are key-issues-Indigenous-Peoples-Canadacomplex and inexorably intertwined – so much so that government, researchers, policy makers and Indigenous leaders seem hamstrung by the enormity. It is hard to isolate just one issue as being the worst. The Indian Act greatly contributes to these eight issues and more.”
The British Columbia Treaty Mandate: “The Treaty Commission’s work encompasses three main roles across a broad range of activities: facilitating negotiations including assisting the Parties in ﬁnding solutions and resolving disputes, allocating negotiation support funding to enable First Nation participation in the negotiations, and educating the public about treaty negotiations
Skilling up for stronger solidarity: “Skills for Solidarity is an online, introductory program that opens up a conversation about the shared history between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and ways to renew the relationship between nations. The program consists of five online panels that participants can watch at their own pace, along with supplementary workbooks to deepen their learning. Each panel includes an incredible group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous panelists sharing their experience and stories on themes ranging from the importance of personal story in decolonization to what it looks like to work together on shared campaigns.”
Free online courses about Indigenous rights, history and culture in Canada:
University of Alberta:
First Nations: Land Rights and Environmentalism in Canada