The Sunday Magazine

The Sunday Magazine for April 3, 2022

AFN national chief RoseAnne Archibald on what will follow the papal apology to Indigenous people, Ken Burns talks about his documentary on Benjamin Franklin, political philosopher Francis Fukuyama on the future of liberal democracies, and Azar Nafisi extolls literature's power in troubling times.
Piya Chattopadhyay is host of The Sunday Magazine. (CBC)

This week on The Sunday Magazine with Piya Chattopadhyay:

AFN national chief RoseAnne Archibald on the road ahead after Rome

Following a week of talks between Pope Francis and First Nations, Inuit and Métis delegations at the Vatican, the head of the Catholic Church expressed sorrow and apologized for the harm caused by some Church members in Canada's residential school system – but did not issue a full apology for the Church's role as a whole. We take stock of how we arrived at this point and how this development is landing with various Indigenous people in Canada. Then, Chattopadhyay speaks with Assembly of First Nations national chief RoseAnne Archibald, to explore what healing and reconciliation could look like in the aftermath of this apology, as preparations are made for the Pope's promised visit to Canada.

Ken Burns turns his lens on Benjamin Franklin and delivers a lesson for the present day

Ken Burns is known for his epic historical documentaries, having tackled subjects as varied as the American Civil War, baseball and jazz. But in his latest project, you'll hear stories of vaccines and disinformation campaigns, a reckoning over racial justice and a struggle to define what democracy means in the United States. It may sound a lot like 2022, but Burns has not set his sights on the present day. The renowned filmmaker joins Chattopadhyay to talk about his look at the life and times of American writer, inventor and diplomat Benjamin Franklin.

How the war in Ukraine could revitalize democracy around the world

Francis Fukuyama still believes that liberal democracy is the best way forward. The political philosopher first made the case 30 years ago in his international bestselling book The End of History and the Last Man. Now, he tells Chattopadhyay that the war in Ukraine could have a silver lining – reinvigorating faith in democracies around the world, at a time when authoritarian leaders have been on the ascent. 

Azar Nafisi on the power of literature to fight authoritarianism

Between international conflicts, political division, misinformation, rising anti-democratic forces, and a pandemic, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the latest news headlines. But the antidote to that hopelessness may be as close as your bookshelf or local library. So says Azar Nafisi, the acclaimed author who's perhaps best-known for her memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran. Her new collection of essays Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times is a reading list of sorts, written in the form of letters to her late father about the work of writers from Plato and Salman Rushdie, to Margaret Atwood and Ta-Nehisi Coates. Nafisi tells Chattopadhyay why she turned to them for inspiration, as she struggled to make sense of the rise of authoritarianism around the world.

An elegy for the lost children 

Jennifer Moore Rattray's great grandparents attended Brandon Residential School in Manitoba, only to see their own children taken from them and sent to the same school. Two of those children and their cousins died while attending the school, and her family still doesn't know exactly where the children are buried. Some are thought to lie somewhere on the grounds of the former school in an unmarked cemetery, on land that was sold by the city of Brandon to make way for an RV park 20 years ago. Rattray, a member Peepeekisis First Nation and former Executive Director of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, reflects on the lost children in her own family and in so many others, as she considers the future of reconciliation after this week's Indigenous delegation to the Vatican.

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