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Truth and Reconciliation Week: The Future

Truth and Reconciliation Week

“This road started well before Indigenous children were forced to attend these schools, when Indigenous Nations flourished, their laws and languages were intact. Despite the recent history of racism and cruelty, today our path is focused on healing and resurgence – on the Land and in our Homes,”  National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, 2021.

Indigenous people are revitalizing their traditions, languages and their culture. An example of this is world recognized Stephen Jerome who makes traditional, ancestral black ash baskets in Gesgapegiag.  He learned this skill from his father, and he is passing the skill on to the next generation. Indigenous artists create their works with pride of their culture and history.

The preservation and resurgence of Indigenous culture, including languages, art and ways of life are increasingly being steered by community-level decisions and the active participation of that community.

Educational settings, including the teaching of Indigenous culture and worldviews is being developed and adapted. This includes post-secondary degree programs that have been Indigenized and are taught in the home community.

In all areas of Canadian society, Indigenous people are promoting their identities and their rights.

Some Indigenous communities are making great progress towards reaching social, economic and cultural goals by developing local entrepreneurship. The Pow Wow Pitch is a pitch competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs across Turtle Island (North America).  This year more than 1,600 Indigenous entrepreneurs pitched their businesses, including Gesgapegiag resident Christianne Jerome Bernard, for an opportunity to win prizes from $500 to $25,000.

First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples are making greater strides toward self-determination. This includes the right to pursue “Their economic, cultural, and social development and to govern their affairs.”

In the future, decision-making will be more collaborative and participatory and led by Indigenous communities.

“As First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities access and revitalize their spirituality, cultures, languages, laws and governance systems, and as non-Aboriginal Canadians increasingly come to understand Indigenous history within Canada and to recognize and respect Indigenous approaches to establishing and maintaining respectful relationships, Canadians can work together to forge a new covenant of reconciliation,” Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 2015

“Because when you’re robbed of your childhood, and you’re not connected to your parents, which many of the survivors — all of the survivors — went through, you lose that connection around parenting and family. Those things must be rebuilt with each generation. So, we’ve got to find a way to heal that and have families become healthy and strong again and reach our vision of happy, healthy children surrounded by love and care of their families in safe and vibrant communities. That’s what we want. Everybody wants that across this country. And I really believe that an Indigenous-healing fund is one mechanism to contribute to that healing. …  and make sure that we’re creating a society, and a country, where this thing never happens again,” RoseAnne Archibald, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, 2021

“We welcome this “Sacred Day of Reconciliation” and we appreciate all the support demonstrated by the people. It is sacred because we believe that all life is sacred and especially the lives of our children. The policy of assimilation and extinguishment of our culture, languages, spiritual beliefs, and dispossession of our territories, should never be forgotten and needs to become mainstream curriculum. This day of remembrance should be used to learn from the past so that these ongoing policies by federal and provincial governments come to an end and that our people and our rights be recognized and that we establish a true government to government relationship based on the truth. Reconciliation also means reparation,”  John Martin, Chief of Gesgapegiag