Reconciliation is an important part of the process of decolonization. Reconciliation requires that Indigenous people tell their stories and that they are heard. It requires a shared understanding of our common past and a shared vision of the future.
An important step on the road to reconciliation was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), created in 2007 as part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The TRC was inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa.
What You Can Do
People ask, “What can be done?” or “What can I do?” or they are uncertain or uncomfortable about getting involved. It can feel daunting, and both responses are normal. The fact that you have taken the time to finish all of the sections in this guide has made a difference already, and if you can share what you learned with those around you, then you will make a difference. As we saw, many stereotypes and problems occur when people do not know the truth or even any information about Indigenous Peoples. Increasing awareness is very important.
If you would like to learn more, we encourage you to seek out more information, but don’t stop there. Start taking action:
- Read the “Calls to Action” in the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report
- Visit a Friendship Centre or other Indigenous spaces in Brandon, such as those in Assiniboine Community College, Brandon University, and Thunderbird House in Winnipeg.
- Read books by Indigenous authors.
- Support Indigenous businesses and professionals by making purchases or using their services.
- Donate to a scholarship for Indigenous students or designate a donation to your post-secondary institution to support Indigenous initiatives.
- Add Indigenous voices and content to your music and podcast playlist.
- Participate in an online or in-person course taught by an Indigenous professor or instructor.
- Support businesses that are part of urban reserves.
- Find out about Jordan’s Principle and why it is so important to Indigenous children.
- Take a course or workshop on Indigenous Peoples’ history and culture.
- Form a group within your work team to talk about supporting Indigenous initiatives or form a book club focusing on an Indigenous topic.
- Participate in events such as the Walk for Reconciliation and National Indigenous Day activities.
It is important to note that Indigenous Peoples need allies and not people to tell them what to do or to direct and benefit from Indigenous issues and challenges. We need to work together and support each other to make a place where all people are valued and included. Reconciliation is a very personal journey and one in which all Canadians must play a part.
You can view the Buffalo Circle Allyship–University of Saskatchewan1 online.
Have a look at the Ally Toolkit–Calgary Foundation2.
More information about the Ally Bill of Responsibilities3 by Lynn Gehl.
Information on the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund4 article online.
- Buffalo Circle Allyship (https://teaching.usask.ca/documents.gmctl/indigenization/buffalo-circle-brochure_v5.pdf)
- Ally Toolkit (https://calgaryfoundation.org/about-us/reconciliation/indigenous-ally-toolkit/)
- Ally Bill of Responsibilities (http://www.lynngehl.com/uploads/5/0/0/4/5004954/ally_bill_of_responsibilities_poster.pdf)
- Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund (https://downiewenjack.ca/)