Reconciliation is a Verb Series – part 2
One of the foundational pieces to change is awareness. That’s not a new phenomenon; it just makes sense. So to kick start the series, here are a few important things to provide context for reconciliation work.
Colonization is devastating. If you’re not familiar with this term, it’s crucial to understanding the current context for Indigenous Peoples.
Here is part of the definition from the Manitoba Department of Education and Advanced Learning:
“the forming of a settlement or colony by a group of people who seek to take control of a specific piece of land, territory, or country. It usually involves immigration of people on a large-scale to a ‘new’ location and the expansion of their civilization and culture into this area. When the land in question has already been settled, colonization involves displacing and/or dominating the original inhabitants of the area, the indigenous population.”
The Legacy of Colonization
Colonization didn’t end with settlement. It continues today in many forms – through stereotypes, myths, ignorance, unconscious bias, as well as systemic discrimination and inequity (policies, practices, laws…).
Some of these systemic policies and practices include Residential Schools, The Sixties Scoop, and the Reservation system (by the way did you know that South African Apartheid was modeled after our Reservation system?), and the criminal justice system – think: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Colton Boushie’s trial from earlier this year.
What statistics tell us
Statistics show that there are higher levels of poverty among First Nations communities, sub-standard education, and lack of clean drinking water in many communities – among other things. You can read more about all of this in my blog post from last year about Canada 150 which includes links to all of these issues (and others).
Becoming more familiar with the context for Indigenous Peoples in Canada is a crucial component of Reconciliation. We need to know. It’s our responsibility to educate ourselves. And then with that awareness, we can move forward together.
Next week we’ll explore what else we need to know.