Personal Acts of Reconciliation
These personal acts of reconciliation can all be done from home.
June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day, and reconciliation is an integral part commemorating the day. Taking steps toward reconciliation as an individual can seem difficult — after all, a single person cannot move forward the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions' 94 calls to action on their own.
On a community level, reconciliation can be viewed through a lens of conversations and connections. Artist Loretta Gould from We'koqma'q First Nation told CBC last year, "When people say reconciliation, it always just brings back them trying to apologize, and I don't think that's what it means. Reconciliation's more for people to share in what's going on. And two individuals getting together and just sharing." Gould was one of two artists commissioned to create a reconciliation mural in downtown Sydney, N.S.
With Gould's words in mind, we've put together a list of five ways to perform personal acts of reconciliation during everyday life.
Do a Social Media Audit
One of the most common ways people connect and share these days is on social media. Take a scroll through your 'Following' list. Who's there? Do you follow any Indigenous voices? Take the time to listen to Indigenous voices and amplify them on your own feed.
To start, here are three Indigenous people sharing cool stories on social media, all on the East Coast, for you to check out:
- Savvy Simon is a woman from the Mi'kmaq tribe of Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, now living in Halifax, N.S. She's a social media ambassador for the North American Indigenous Games (rescheduled to 2021) and a former NAIG athlete herself.
Melissa Peter-Paul is a Mi'kmaq artist from Abegweit First Nation in P.E.I. She creates beautiful art from porcupine quills, inspired by the work of her great-great-grandmother.
Learn About Indigenous Languages in Canada
Indigenous languages are about more than communication. They're about identity, and legacy. Across Canada, the erasure of Indigenous languages due to residential schools and systematic racism drove some languages into extinction. Here are a few ways to learn about Indigenous linguicide, and how Indigenous people are saving their languages, in Canada:
In the 2016 episode of Ideas, called Undoing Linguicide, PhD candidate Lorena Fontaine spoke about the battle to revive Indigenous languages
The CBC Indigenous project, Original Voices, is an interactive website where you can explore Indigenous languages by region, learn new phrases (through written word and audio clips), and find news stories about Indigenous languages.
Watch Logan Perley's video, Revitalizing the Wolastoquey Language, in which he explores how to hold onto a language that only a few hundred people speak today.
Parents can add Indigenous language books into their children's library shelves. Mi'kmaw Wisisk = Mi'kmaw Animals by Alan Syliboy, Counting in Mi'kmaw by Loretta Gould, and Moonbeam by Gail Francis are a few options by East Coast authors.
Check Out Local Events (Perhaps Virtually)
In 2020, many Indigenous community events and powwows have been cancelled or postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19. However, some celebrations have been moved online.
In Ottawa, the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival "Virtual Edition" is running from June 1-21. There are online events taking place every day.
On June 21, you can watch the 27th annual Indspire Awards. The awards honour First Nations, Inuit, and Métis individuals from across Canada who have made significant contributions to Indigenous education, art, culture, business, health, law, sports and public service in Canada. The awards will be broadcast and streamed on Sunday, June 21, at 8:00p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC, CBC Gem, CBC Radio One, and the CBC Listen app.
Missed all of these? Don't worry. Becoming an ally to Indigenous people and working on truth and reconciliation is a long process. You can check out these annual events again next year.
Listen to Podcasts
Put your earbuds to use towards an act of personal reconciliation and explore some podcasts that feature Indigenous voices from across Canada — and one from across the world.
CBC recently launched its first Cree podcast. Mary Shem and Betsy Longchap from CBC North host Wiih'teh, the first podcast in the Eastern James Bay Southern and Northern Cree dialect. Each episode features Cree words about the weather and the seasons, and recounts stories. Listen to Wiih'teh here.
The Secret Life of Canada, hosted by Leah-Simone Bowen and Falen Johnson, is a history podcast that highlights the people, places, and stories that probably didn't make it into your high school textbook. Many episodes share Indigenous history, including Crash Course on Friendship Centres, Water, and Bay Blanket.
In Australia, Word Up explores the hundreds of diverse Indigenous languages in Australia, three words at a time.
Support Indigenous Organizations, Businesses, and Artists
There are many ways to support Indigenous organizations in your community. You can volunteer time, donate money, shop at Indigenous-owned businesses, or support Indigenous artists.
Indigenous Nonprofits and Advocacy Groups