On June 2, 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission wrapped up its difficult and momentous work and released its 94 calls to action.
Senator Murray Sinclair said the calls to action represent the first step towards redressing the legacy of Indian residential schools and advancing the process of reconciliation. And this process will not be a quick one; it will take efforts from everyone over many years.
It’s tough to know what real examples of reconciliation might be, but if you look hard enough you’ll find individuals, organizations, governments and other groups addressing calls to action head on.
You can see this on a big scale, with—for example—the federal government officially adopting the UN declaration on the rights of Indigenous people in May.
Universities, too, are taking steps towards reconciliation. Ryerson University, named after Egerton Ryerson who believed Indigenous children were inferior to white children, is working to shed that past and push for diversity by creating a working group to address the TRC’s calls to action. Carleton University will be introducing an elective in its journalism program to engage students in covering Indigenous issues. The students’ union at the University of Saskatchewan is working on a policy to address the calls to action.
Work is happening on the ground, too, in communities across the country. In every Friendship Centre hard work is being done to improve the lives of Indigenous people. Everyday, artists are exploring what it means to be Indigenous and cultural reclamation. Organizations like the Canadian Roots Exchange are bringing people together and breaking down cultural barriers.
What’s happening in your community? Comment below and let us know!
Edmonton Indian Residential School photo source: Library and Archives Canada