Time for reconciliation

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swallow swallow's picture

KAIROS Canada is currently focussing on TRC call to action #62, which would make it mandatory for schools to teach the residential schools story. [url=http://www.kairoscanada.org/what-we-do/indigenous-rights/windsofchange-o... of Change campaign.[/url] The campaign aims to end denial and silence, and move towards the change that is needed. In the words of Ellen Gabriel (Katsi'tsakwas): "This is what you need to be teaching your children...and you need to make it a priority." 


Thanks. I hope Kairos funding is restored - the material should exist in French and as many Indigenous languages as possible. There are some hopeful signs, as there seem to be a lot more non-Indigenous people supporting reconciliation and Indigenous rights and nationhoods, and above all there has been self-organisation of Indigenous youth in Idle no more.


This story made me extremely angry and sad at the same time. If the new government is serious about a new relationship with our indigenous people then it needs to step up to the plate and fix this immediately. The government lawyer who made this mistake broke the fiduciary duty owed to aboriginal people when negotiating on their behalf. The Catholic Church of course could just tell its lawyers to rip up this mistake but if they don't then the federal government needs to immediately pay the remainder of the $79 million dollars that its lawyers screwed survivors of residential schools out of.

This is what reconciliation looks like in our racist colonial state. The Catholic Church was unable to fund raise the money to right the wrongs of their church. I guess the Pope's messages are falling on deaf ears amongst his flock. To add injury to that insult a government lawyer made a mistake that would get him fired from a law firm and disciplined by a laws society.


In an attempt to make the Catholic Church pay the full amount of the $29-million cash settlement, the government inadvertently released it from any obligation it might have had to continue with a dismal fundraising campaign.

“When you have a deal, it needs to be implemented,” said Bill Erasmus, the National Chief of the Dene Nation who handles the residential schools file for the Assembly of First Nations. “So the Church should be paying up. The church agreed there were harms. That’s why people were to be compensated.”

But, as of last summer, the Catholic entities were legally off the hook.

In a March 19 letter to Ron Kidd, a concerned citizen from British Columbia who has been following this case, Andrew Saranchuk, an assistant deputy minister within the Indigenous Affairs department, explained that a court settlement reached on July 16, 2015 “released the Catholic entities from all three of their financial obligations under the settlement agreement, including the ‘best efforts’ fundraising campaign, in exchange for a repayment of $1.2-million in administrative fees.”

This result, Mr. Saranchuk went on to explain, “was due to miscommunications between counsel regarding the nature and extent of the settlement being discussed.”


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Reconciliation cannot happen without gender equality, Mohawk leader says


"Women pass on the clans, the language, the culture. Women have title to the land. They are the ones in charge of the land, everything that happens on the land. And just sovereign in their own right."

But all that changed with contact and the eventual introduction of the Indian Act.

"It undermined the authority of women. Title to the land was taken away and under the Indian Act, it automatically went to the men — just like any other nation. Status went through the men instead of the women, and it did not recognize the authority of women, land — how it's used — and just really totally changed our society."

Gabriel says reconciliation cannot happen unless the issue of gender discrimination is addressed. In order for that to happen, the band council system needs to go, she says.

swallow swallow's picture
swallow swallow's picture

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/truth-and-reconciliation-murray-sinclair... year after Truth and Reconciliation report: 'Not seeing change yet'[/url]


Yes indeed the Ontario government also passed a nice feel good resolution telling the world how much they care about our First Nations.  Of course actions speak louder than words. Like they say, "white man speak with forked tongue."


A group of teenagers from the remote Grassy Narrows First Nation were ejected from the Ontario legislature today for wearing T-shirts reading: “water is sacred.”

The teens travelled 1,700 kilometres from the northern reserve near the Manitoba border to demand the province take action to clean up the mercury that has poisoned local rivers, lakes and fish _ and made people sick _ for decades.


swallow swallow's picture

It is easy for most Canadians to think of colonialism as long ago and far away. Indigenous Canadians, though, face the realities of colonialism every day....

I have spent much of the past 20 years working on rebuilding communities after conflict and human rights abuses in “foreign” places such as Uganda, Haiti, and the Solomon Islands. Yet it took a long time for me to realize indigenous Canadians have experienced the same abuses I’ve seen elsewhere. I don’t think many Canadians recognize this either....

The TRC was one step in a process that has only just begun. What is needed now is for non-indigenous Canadians to acknowledge both what has happened, and what continues to happen across Canada. And then we need to bring that acknowledgment to life, fulfilling the promises that have been made. That will be the beginning of reconciliation.

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/for-true-reconciliation-all-canad... QUINN: For true reconciliation, all Canadians must join the conversation[/url]

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..this is a very intense struggle for lelu island. the implications are enormous.

Divide and conquer

At the centre of the biggest resource deal in Canada, a small town is torn apart — and reconciliation has never seemed so far away

For more than 5,000 years, First Nations people have collected plants and harvested red cedar on Lelu Island, which sits where the Skeena River meets the Pacific Ocean near Prince Rupert in northern British Columbia. Adjacent to some of the most critical salmon habitat on the West Coast, Lelu Island is considered so valuable that, according to local Indigenous oral histories, Indigenous tribes have long battled to control it.

Not much has changed today — except that the battleground has shifted to Victoria and Ottawa. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is set to make a decision about Pacific NorthWest LNG (PNW LNG)’s proposed $36-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which is majority-owned by the Malaysian energy company Petronas. That decision could come at any time, although deliberations are likely to stretch into the fall. If built, the project will link a pipeline that weaves through traditional First Nations territories with a conversion plant and shipping terminal on Lelu Island.


Central to UNDRIP is Indigenous peoples’ right to “free, prior and informed consent” when it comes to proposals like PNW LNG. “Especially in cases of large-scale development or investment projects that may have a major, severe or adverse impact on Indigenous Peoples’ territories, consent is necessary,” wrote Indigenous legal scholar Dalee Sambo Dorough in Northern Public Affairs. “The state must provide all relevant information well in advance of the decision making.”

“It means developing and maintaining a more balanced and respectful relationship,” says Senator Murray Sinclair, former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “It’s more than simply saying, ‘We’re going to stop taking your land away from you unless it’s really important.’” He says projects like PNW LNG are an opportunity for Trudeau to demonstrate his commitment to reconciliation.

In May, just two days after Bennett drew a standing ovation at the U.N. for committing to UNDRIP, a group of First Nations people from the Skeena region also stood before the U.N.’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. “Right now, in our ancestral lands, everything the Trudeau government has pledged to get right with Canada’s Indigenous peoples is in danger of going very, very wrong,” said John Ridsdale, a Hereditary Chief of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. “It is 2016, and Petronas is the wrong project in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and OPSEU Forge Historic Partnership

The President of OPSEU and the Chief of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation have signed an historic agreement to work together to ensure justice for First Nations.

"This partnership recognizes the sovereignty and Treaty rights of all First Nations communities," says Mississaugas of the New Credit Chief R. Stacey Laforme. "Through its actions, OPSEU has proven itself as a respectful partner to First Nations communities and we'll be proud to work with them."

The agreement commits the First Nation and the union to work together to enact the 94 Calls to Action contained in the Truth and Reconciliation Report and to uphold the principles included in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

"This partnership is historic, but it's not out of the blue. We've been working hard to ensure Indigenous people have a powerful voice in our union and in our communities," says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, pointing out that paramedics with Beausoleil First Nation on Christian Island in Simcoe County voted last week to join OPSEU.

"We're proving ourselves the union of choice for Indigenous workers," says Thomas.

The partnership between OPSEU and the Mississaugas of the New Credit is one of the many initiatives that have grown out of the first biennial OPSEU Indigenous Conference held last fall in Cornwall, ON. The conference was a true partnership between the OPSEU Indigenous Circle and the Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne.  It joins other OPSEU Truth and Reconciliation initiatives that include:

  • The Indigenous Mobilization Team (IMT), which is three Indigenous OPSEU members working full-time to support communities and First Nations across the province in their fight for justice in campaigns for "Sixties Scoop" survivors, clean drinking water for Indigenous communities, and Gladue Courts and reform of the criminal justice system.
  • A campaign to make June 21 a statutory holiday in Ontario and across Canada.
  • A partnership with Food Share Toronto to work with northern and remote Indigenous communities to establish their own food markets to provide healthy and affordable food.
  • Participation in the 2017 World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education and a commitment to international Indigenous Solidarity.