The House

CBC Radio's The House: TRC calls to action — what's next?

On this week’s show: In a special edition of The House, guest host Niigaan Sinclair sits down for a conversation with his father, Murray Sinclair, to discuss what the former Truth and Reconciliation Commission chair and senator thinks about the Pope’s apology. Plus — in-depth looks into how much progress has been made on fulfilling the TRC calls to action around key issues like justice, health and education.

Here is what's on this week's episode of The House

Pope Francis gives a speech as he meets with First Nations, Metis and Inuit Indigenous communities in Maskwacis, Alta. on July 25, 2022. (Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters)
On this week's show: In a special edition of The House, guest host Niigaan Sinclair sits down for a conversation with his father, Murray Sinclair, to discuss what the former Truth and Reconciliation Commission chair and senator thinks about the Pope’s apology. Plus — in-depth looks into how much progress has been made on fulfilling the TRC calls to action around key issues like justice, health and education.

Did the Pope's apology go far enough?

Indigenous leaders are divided on Pope Francis' apology, delivered in Canada this week. Some say it fulfils the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action 58 and represents a key step forward, while others argue it didn't go far enough.

Murray Sinclair, the former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, delivered the final report that included the 94 calls to action in 2015. Guest host Niigaan Sinclair starts The House's special coverage with a conversation with his father about whether the former judge and senator — one of the architects of the calls to action — feels call 58 is now complete and what the Pope's visit means for reconciliation.

Kicking off a special episode of The House, guest host Niigaan Sinclair has a conversation with his father, Murray Sinclair, about what the former judge, senator and TRC chair thinks about the Pope’s visit to Canada this week.

(When this week's episode of The House was recorded, the Pope had not used the word "genocide" in discussing the residential school system, as noted by one of the voices on our show. However, when speaking to reporters on his flight out of Canada, Pope Francis said the treatment of Indigenous people through residential schools was "a genocide.")

Tracking action

A papal apology was number 58 on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's list of 94 calls to action. Now that Pope Francis has been to Canada, where do we stand on the rest?

The Yellowhead Institute at the Toronto Metropolitan University has been publishing an annual report since 2019 that tracks the progress governments and other organizations are making on the calls. Yellowhead's research director Eva Jewell joins The House to go over the report card.

Eva Jewell, research director of the Yellowhead Institute at the Toronto Metropolitan University, joins The House to talk about what progress has been made on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action.

The first five: Child welfare

The first five calls to action focus on child welfare — and reducing the number of Indigenous children in care is at the very top. The House hears from Huu-ay-aht First Nation councillor Edward Johnson about how his community has made strides in preventing some of its children from being removed from their homes.

Then, University of Regina professor Raven Sinclair, a Sixties Scoop survivor, talks about the progress being made on these calls.

The House takes an in-depth look at the issue of Indigenous child welfare, hearing from University of Regina professor Raven Sinclair, a Sixties Scoop survivor, as well as Huu-ay-aht First Nation councillor Edward Johnson.

Headway on justice

Of the first 42 calls to action dealing with the legacy of residential schools, 18 are focused on justice. 

John Borrows, the Loveland Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law, breaks down why there are so many calls to action focused on justice and explains why so many people this week have been calling on the Pope to revoke the "doctrine of discovery."

John Borrows, the Loveland Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, discusses the TRC calls to action focused on justice.

Reviving and recognizing traditional births 

Earlier this year, for the first time in decades, a First Nation community in Saskatchewan experienced a traditional Indigenous birth. In Sturgeon Lake First Nation, a baby was brought into the world in a healing lodge with the help of Indigenous midwives and traditional ceremony.

It was a moment that was both professionally and personally significant for Norma Rabbitskin, the senior health nurse at the Sturgeon Lake Health Centre and the grandmother of the newborn. Rabbitskin explains how she's working to implement call number 22, which urges the recognition and incorporation of Indigenous healing practices.

Norma Rabbitskin, the senior health nurse at the Sturgeon Lake Health Centre discusses the birth of her grandson — the first traditional Indigenous birth in the community in decades — and the TRC call to action addressing Indigenous healing practices.

Commitment to teaching and funding Indigenous education

All Canadian provinces and territories include aspects of Indigenous education in their schools, but not all of it is mandatory and the age at which children learn about it varies. What's more, government funding cuts to Indigenous education are putting additional strain on educators.

Colinda Clyne, the coordinating principal of Indigenous education at the Upper Grand District School Board in Guelph, Ont., discusses what still has to be done to fulfil the education calls to action.

Colinda Clyne, the coordinating principal of Indigenous education at the Upper Grand District School Board, based in Guelph, Ontario, explains why she thinks there’s still a long way to go in addressing the education calls to action.

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