Reconciliation is STILL a verb
That’s how many of the 94 Calls to Action from 2015’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission have been completed.
Enshrining today, September 30, as National Day of Truth and Reconciliation was one of them. The ones that remain? As urgent as ever.
Right now, in Wetsuwet’en territory, a corporation is drilling under a sacred river while water protectors are facing violent arrest and removal from their own territories. In jails around the country, Indigenous Peoples make up 37% of the prison population: many are incarcerated for the ‘crime’ of being impoverished or traumatized. There remain 34 long-term water advisories in Indigenous communities: that’s generations of people in a developed nation living with contaminated water and the health impacts that come with it.
Today we uphold the champions of reconciliation and justice: there are many Indigenous leaders and allies doing amazing work. But, as Canada drags its feet, so many Indigenous Peoples in this country are still waiting for substantive, transformational change.
The number of Indigenous children in care has not been reduced. Funding for education continues to be deeply unjust: on-reserve schools are being shorted to the tune of $665 million a year (for context: Canada plans to invest $21 billion in the TransMountain pipeline). The racist Doctrine of Discovery has yet to be repudiated. And — in a process not yet even begun — UNDRIP continues to be an optional add-on, rather than the law, for corporations operating on Indigenous land.
According to Yellowhead Institute’s 2021 Status Update on Reconciliation, “With each passing year, Canada opts to perform reconciliation in an effort to shape a benevolent reputation rather than enact the substantial and structural changes that would rectify ongoing harms and change the course of our collective relationship.”
It is up to each one of us to keep up the pressure for governments to deliver on the TRC’s Calls to Action, alongside more personal commitments that we can all embrace on Truth and Reconciliation Day.
Here are some actions you can take:
One Day’s Pay is a challenge to give one day’s pay to support Indigenous organizations on Truth and Reconciliation Day. https://www.onedayspay.ca
- Donate to organizations supporting residential school survivors
- First Nations Child & Family Caring Society: https://fncaringsociety.com/donate
- Indian Residential School Survivors Society: https://www.irsss.ca
- Donate to support language revitalization.
- KAS Squamish Language School
- Legacy of Hope Foundation: https://legacyofhope.ca
- Woodland Cultural Center: https://woodlandculturalcentre.ca/support/save-the-evidence/
- Downie Wenjack Fund: https://downiewenjack.ca
- True North Aid: https://truenorthaid.givecloud.co/donate
- Attend or hold a reconciliation workshop in your community! Organizations such as Returning to Spirit offer workshops and training programs that help individuals and communities move forward from the legacy of Residential Schools.
- Join Yellowhead Institute for this vital conversation: https://www.eventbrite.ca/x/a-calls-to-action-conversation-on-truth-and-reconciliation-tickets-406308388327?utm_source=eventbrite&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=reminder_attendees_48hour_email&utm_term=eventname&ref=eemaileventremind
- Divest (personally) or as a union/organization from companies who fail to deal in good faith with Indigenous Nations. https://www.indigenousclimateaction.com/programs/indigenous-divestment
No investments? Find out if your bank is bought in, and demand they pull out of Coastal Gas Link. https://www.protectourwinters.ca/divestcgl
3. Build Bridges & Strengthen Relationships
• Make a Commitment: commit to continued learning and supporting the Calls to Action in the TRC.
• Amplify Indigenous Voices: Indigenous peoples have been doing great work in communities for decades, listen to them and share their stories.
• Learn: Attend Indigenous-run events in your community, from powwows to author readings to film screenings to lectures & talks. Invite [and pay!] Indigenous speakers to participate in events you organize or are involved with. If you have spare time, volunteer with Indigenous-led organizations to lend a hand, learn, and cultivate lifelong connections.
RAVEN is grateful to have a part to play in putting reconciliation into action. Today, we hope you are reflecting on, and renewing your commitments, while taking care to honour the Indigenous people in your life and your community. It’s a long road to repair relationships, but the distance is much shorter if we travel together.