Reconciliation must be owned at a personal level. So must it happen on a personal level. In my last post, I promised some actions that you and I can take that contribute to reconciliation, as well as to our personal growth. The suggestions, in blue font, come from the document Strength for Climbing: Steps on the Journey of Reconciliation published by Kairos (in French, La force d’escalader : Des pas sur le chemin de laréconciliation). Unless I have indicate otherwise, I have read the books and articles recommended here, and viewed the films and videos.
- · Reconnect with Indigenous ways of knowing.
Native Knowing: Larry Merculieff (17 minutes)A video about keen observation, use of all five senses, and suspension of thought as a pathway to the language of nature.
- · Dig into the story of what happened to First Nations people in Saskatchewan and in Canada after contact.
Daschuk, James. (2013). Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life. Regina: U of R Press. From the book cover: In arresting, but harrowing prose, James Daschuk examines the roles that Old World diseases, climate, and, most disturbingly, Canadian politics—the politics of ethnocide—played in the deaths and subjugation of thousands of aboriginal people in the realization of Sir John A. Macdonald’s “National Dream.”
Daschuk, James. (2015). La destruction des Indiens des plaines : maladies, famines organisées, disparition du mode de vie autochtone. Quebec : Presses Université Laval. En quelques années seulement, des milliers d'Autochtones sont morts; les survivants ont été réduits en sujétion. Dans cette ouvrage passionnante et bouleversante, James Daschuk analyse les causes de cet effroyable massacre : les maladies venues de l'Ancien Monde; les rigueurs du climat; mais surtout, la politique ethnocidaire du gouvernement canadien.Pour les premiers habitants des Plaines, le « rêve national » de Sir John A. Macdonald a tourné au cauchemar (commentaire de Renaud-Bray).
King, Thomas. (2012). The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America. Toronto: Anchor Canada.
Thomas King offers a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian–White relations in North America since initial contact. (University of Minnesota Press)
Manuel, Arthur, et Derrickson, Ronald M. (2015). Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call. Toronto: Between the Lines. Manuel and Derrickson write a history of the Indigenous peoples of British Columbia. The authors describe their experiences growing up, as well as their roles as activists in the events that shaped the directions of relations with First Nations on the federal and provincial levels. They are frank in their assessments, and provide singular perspectives and insights.
Sakamoto, Mark. (2014). Forgiveness: A Gift From My Grandparents.
Toronto: HarperCollins Canada.
Disclaimer: This book is in the mail. I have not yet read it. The 2018 Canada Reads winner, this memoir, based on the suffering of the author’s grandparents during World War II, discusses the true meaning of forgiveness
Saul, John Ralston. (2008). My Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada. Toronto: Penguin. In this seminal must-read, the author provides a unique perspective on Canada. Canada is a Métis nation, he says, shaped and influenced by indigenous ideas. We are far more Aboriginal than European, he maintains. To illustrate his concept, he recounts episodes in Canadian history and analyzes them in that optic.
Saul, John Ralston. (2008). Mon pays métis : Quelques vérités sur le Canada. Traduction de Rachel Martinez et Éve Renaud. Montréal : Boréal.
La version française de My Fair Country. Quelles sont quelques-unes de ces vérités ? Nous sommes une civilization métisse. « La paix, l’ordre et le bon gouvernement » sont une imposture. Notre élite ne se reconnaît pas dans le Canada et ne souhaite pas le diriger.
Savage, Candace. (2012). A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape. Vancouver: Greystone Books-D&M Publishers. The author moves to Eastend, Saskatchewan, and begins to explore the area. She uncovers “a darker reality—a story of cruelty and survival set in the still-recent past—and finds that she must reassess the story she grew up with as the daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of prairie homesteaders.” (quotation from book cover)
Heritage Minutes A collection of one-minute videos on Canadian history. Click the Indigenous History tab in Categories.
- · Learn why we are all Treaty people, and the provisions of Treaty for First Nations and non-First Natios people.
A Solemn Undertaking: The FiveTreaties of Saskatchewan (14 minutes)
A concise summary of the treaty-making process and the perspectives of First Nations and the government.
The Socio-Economic Impact ofTreaties (18 minutes)
The video discusses treaties in Saskatchewan from an economic standpoint. It contrasts the role of First Nations and aboriginal people in the early trading economy with that of the agricultural economy of Saskatchewan. Education and entrepreneurship are identified as means of integrating First Nations into the Saskatchewan economy.
Treaty Message Minutes
We Are All Treaty People (14 minutes)
This video traces the history and accomplishments of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, and highlights the reciprocity of the Treaty relationship.
- Be clear about the circumstances in which First Nations pay taxes.
Here’s an article that can help: "First Nations pay more taxes than you think" by Aleksandra Sagan for CBC News, April, 2015
- Share what you have learned in conversations with others (book clubs, film clubs, movie night).
Reconciliation: Where Will YouStart ? (31 secs)Thoughts on reconciliation from a variety of individuals and groups end with a question: Where will you start ? Great way to begin or end a discussion on the subject—with a personal call to action.
Reconciliation: What Does It Mean toYou? (31 secs)“Reconciliation is exploring the past and choosing to make a better future.” A variety of individuals and groups comment on what reconciliation might mean. This video would be an effective catalyst to discussion on the subject.
- Watch films by Indigenous filmmakers and storytellers on Indigenous themes.
Reserve 107 : Reconciliation on the Prairies
Indian Horse, from a novel by Richard Wagamese
Disclaimer: I have not yet viewed these films.
- Confront stereotypes and racism wherever you witness them.
- Acknowledge the traditional territory where you live.
- Integrate observance of days such as the National Aboriginal Day on June 21.
- Model reconciliation by volunteering with those in or just leaving prison.
- Attend powwows or other Indigenous gatherings.
- Visit an Indigenous place of learning (Elders’ Centre, classes at a university, Friendship Centre).
- Watch how people around you are living out reconciliation.
These actions don’t seem to be epic. They can be mostly private, at first, and then, inevitably, public. They don't require signing anything or organizing much at all. But they can be epic in their very smallness. They take the most precious thing we have, our time. They require openness to new ideas and to changing our perspective. And, in many cases, as you surely know, they take courage. Courage to say something that might mark us as the outliers in a group. They do effect incremental change over time, and that’s epic.