The cries for #CancelCanadaDay have come from a devastating discovery of thousands of unmarked graves and remains of indigenous children from the residential school properties across the country. These horrific findings are not shocking to many Canadians who have had to collectively face these losses and tragedies first hand. If you are now recognizing the desperation of this situation and understanding the horrors that our country has been built on, it is important to prioritize our learning to better support our Indigenous Communities to become a better Canada.
We are all incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful land full of natural wonders, but it is imperative that we recognize and understand the disturbing history that our country was built on, and the ongoing oppression. We must honour the communities that are in deep mourning for the heart-breaking genocide of their youth, their culture and traditions.
September 30th, 2021 is the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. This day is to honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. It is a day to be spent learning, reflecting and acknowledging those who are continuing to heal and grieve for the loss of their family members, community and oppression of their culture.
Please continue to use this guide of resources and calls to action to inspire and guide your learning, unlearning and reflection.
1. Learn about the land on which you live, work and play
Recognize that ninety-five percent of British Columbia, including Vancouver, is on unceded traditional First Nations territory. Unceded means that First Nations people never ceded or legally signed away their lands to the Crown or to Canada.
Calgary + Southern Alberta
Recognize that in the Southern Alberta area, we reside on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3).
Recognize that Indigenous Peoples belong to the land. The land and its peoples are sovereign. As such, they have inherent rights to existence.
“Before we can talk about equity, we MUST reconcile with Indigenous people. Only then can equity be properly addressed and redistributed. If not, there will be continual oppression of Indigenous people.” – Olivia Horzempa
Recognize that in Nova Scotia, we reside on the traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq. Take a moment to learn about Unceded Mi’kmaq Territory, the inherent Aboriginal and Treaty rights of its people, and our shared history.
2. Prioritize Learning
- University of British Columbia, Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education (Free)
- University of Alberta, Indigenous Canada Course (Free)
- University of Toronto, Aboriginal World Views and Education (Free)
Books + Readings
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
- 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act – Bob Joseph
- Call Me Indian – Fred Sasakamoose
- Indian Horse – Richard Wagamese
- Seven Fallen Feathers – Tanya Talaga
- Five Little Indians – Michelle Good
- From The Ashes – Jesse Thistle
- The Education of Augie Merasty – Joseph August Merasty
3. Take Action
Where to Donate
- Indian Residential School Survival Society
- Legacy of Hope Foundation
- First Nation’s Caring Society
- Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association
Vigils, Protests + Rallies
Other Calls To Action
- Follow + Engage with Indigenous creators
- Wear Orange to show your support – Purchase an Orange Shirt from an indigenous organization, or a local company that will donate proceeds.
- Participate in Orange Shirt Day – September 30th.
- Support Indigenous artists, writers and musicians by purchasing their work
- Make sure you are looking to learn about Indigenous success as well as suffering
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