Want justice for Indigenous children? Then demand it

Governments will only do the right thing if we, as Canadians, demand it

Want justice for Indigenous children? Then demand itI try to be optimistic and embrace the truth that “the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice.” When I examine how the Canadian government treats Indigenous children, however, it’s hard not to be cynical. I began teaching my Social Justice 12 unit on residential schools by watching Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2008 apology…

National Day of Truth and Reconciliation well-intentioned but hollow

The transition from symbolism to action will be more difficult than Canadians imagine

National Day of Truth and Reconciliation well-intentioned but hollowCanada’s first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation fell far short of expectations. The continuing pandemic did not help, nor did the unevenness of the holiday/commemoration across the country. As expected, most Canadians who had a day off used it as personal time. Only a small number took the opportunity to engage with Indigenous peoples…

If you voted for Trudeau and you’re angry about Tofino, you’re a hypocrite

Our surfer boy PM has been a national and international embarrassment since 2015

If you voted for Trudeau and you’re angry about Tofino, you’re a hypocriteWhen Justin Trudeau was first elected prime minister in 2015, there were political issues he said he wanted to tackle immediately. One of his earliest priorities was a desire to repair Canada's fractious relationship with the Indigenous community. "It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples," he told some Quebec-based First…

Only truth will put us on the path to reconciliation

We must educate the many Canadians who don’t know what happened to our Indigenous neighbours

Only truth will put us on the path to reconciliationI’ve been teaching high school students about Canada’s residential schools for a number of years. Indigenous content has recently been given a more prominent place in the British Columbia curriculum, and this has had an impact. Students now come to my class with some understanding of this tragic chapter in our history, and we’re able…

Five things we all need to know about reconciliation in health care

First Indigenous president of the Canadian Medical Association speaks about what it will take to overcome inequities

Five things we all need to know about reconciliation in health careOn Canada’s newly-declared National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we asked Dr. Alika Lafontaine to take stock of the state of reconciliation in health care. Lafontaine, an anesthesiologist at Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Grande Prairie and associate clinical professor in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, was recently chosen as the…

How did we make reconciliation about white folks?

Many of the educational efforts associated with reconciliation are targeted at non-Indigenous peoples

How did we make reconciliation about white folks?Something strange has been happening on the road to true reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission produced clear recommendations on how the country could shed the bitter legacy of Indigenous residential schools. Yet, following revelations about gravesites near formal residential schools, the process seems to have morphed into measures designed to serve…

What can we expect from our leaders on Indigenous issues?

The parties' records over the last 13 years are revealing

What can we expect from our leaders on Indigenous issues?If Canadians are as concerned as they claim about the increasing number of unmarked graves found near former residential schools, the 2021 federal election will be pivotal. Each of the major political parties displays a clear track record exposing their views on Indigenous issues, domestically and abroad. The residential school apology on June 11, 2008,…

Understanding treaties is essential to reconciliation

Indigenous peoples agreed to share the land – with conditions. It’s important that we learn and talk about what that means

Understanding treaties is essential to reconciliationMy husband and I grew up in families that hunted wild game, mainly moose, for our primary meat source. So, it is no surprise that our children grew up hunting and eating wild game. Now our six-year-old grandson is learning the importance of our interconnectedness to our four-legged relative, the moose, and to the land.…

How to be a better treaty person

No two treaty agreements are alike, but all of them offer a lot to the people who reside on treaty territory

How to be a better treaty personMost Indigenous people know that their ancestors envisioned a strong future for them through treaty negotiations, says Chelsea Vowel, an assistant lecturer at the U of A’s Faculty of Native Studies. And many Indigenous people have signed treaties, which describe how they can live together in a good way with settler society (descendants of European…

What if money is not the answer for Indigenous communities?

The feds tend to use money as a surrogate to real commitment

What if money is not the answer for Indigenous communities?The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made extraordinary financial commitments to Indigenous peoples in Canada. The number and scale of the allocations over the past few years have been staggering, both in comparative and absolute terms. Last week, the federal government and First Nations reached an agreement on water supplies on reserves, estimated…

Who is to blame for the church burnings across Canada?

Mainstream media may have lit the fuse, but there were accomplices

Who is to blame for the church burnings across Canada?Mainstream media lit a fuse, and churches are burning. Nearly two dozen to date and a greater number have been vandalized with graffiti, paint-dipped handprints, and splatter. Some congregations have accepted acts of vandalism as a visual lesson on the road to reconciliation. Others wonder if their place of worship is safe, or a safe…

Why the Calls to Action should be Canada’s guidebook

Canada is facing a pivotal moment. We can choose to keep the truth buried or we can choose to heal

Why the Calls to Action should be Canada’s guidebookCanada Day 2021 was like none other in our history. The unmarked gravesites of children who died at residential schools seemed to be on everyone’s mind. Efforts to “kill the Indian in the child” in residential schools did tremendous damage to our country. Today, Indigenous people are disproportionately represented in our prison system, their high…

Cheap talk and unsubstantiated claims hamper reconciliation

Vacuous electoral promises and virtue-signalling schemes won’t deliver the outcomes Indigenous Canadians need

Cheap talk and unsubstantiated claims hamper reconciliationCanada has consistently failed to make progress commensurate with the many lofty pronouncements and expectations on the Indigenous file. It’s a national shame that most Indigenous Canadians on reservations live far below acceptable socio-economic standards. Money isn’t the problem. By 2022, the federal budget allocations to Indigenous will have doubled since 2016 to nearly $25…

What the Germans can teach us about reconciliation

They’re not guilty of the crimes of their ancestors but they are responsible for building a more peaceful and tolerant country

What the Germans can teach us about reconciliationWhen Germany talked about reuniting as one country after the fall of the Berlin Wall in late 1989, many world leaders were quite concerned, especially British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and French President François Mitterrand. But Germany wasn’t the same country it was in the first half of the 20th century, and today it isn’t…

Session helps researchers practise Indigenous-engaged scholarship

SKIPP offers a space to discuss ethical and respectful research as part of Career Corner series at Congress 2021 virtual conference

Session helps researchers practise Indigenous-engaged scholarshipChanging standards around Indigenous engagement in research is a key initiative of the University of Alberta’s Situated Knowledges: Indigenous Peoples and Place (SKIPP) signature area. Florence Glanfield, SKIPP co-lead, will help share that focus with early-career researchers during the 2021 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. On June 3, Glanfield, who is also vice-provost (Indigenous programming and…