The National Day For Truth And Reconciliation is about more than wearing an orange shirt. It’s about reflecting on the treatment of Indigenous peoples, the legacy of Residential Schools, and how everyday people can take action against injustice. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released a report detailing 94 Calls To Action that are needed in order to “…advance the process of Canadian reconciliation…”. Here are 7 Calls To Action that we believe are important to consider and reflect upon this National Day For Truth And Reconciliation.
Call To Action #57: Training & Education
We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Indigenous peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Indigenous –Crown relations.
This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
If you’re a public service employee, reach out to your director or boss to discuss how this important training and education can be implemented in your workplace, and be sure to participate when it is made available to you.
Call To Action #58: Apology To Survivors
We call upon the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools. We call for that apology to be similar to the 2010 apology issued to Irish victims of abuse and to occur within one year of the issuing of this Report and to be delivered by the Pope in Canada.
Furthering your own education on Indigenous affairs and taking part in programs and classes is another important step in awareness and reconciliation.
Call To Action #60: Apology To Survivors II
We call upon leaders of the church parties to the Settlement Agreement and all other faiths, in collaboration with Indigenous spiritual leaders, Survivors, schools of theology, seminaries, and other religious training centres, to develop and teach curriculum for all student clergy, and all clergy and staff who work in Indigenous communities, on the need to respect Indigenous spirituality in its own right, the history and legacy of residential schools and the roles of the church parties in that system, the history and legacy of religious conflict in Indigenous families and communities, and the responsibility that churches have to mitigate such conflicts and prevent spiritual violence.
Call To Action #62: Appropriate Curriculum
We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Indigenous peoples, and educators, to make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and indigenous peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students.
Provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.
Reach out to your local school board or your child’s school board to inquire about their Indigenous education curriculums and encourage them to implement them if they haven’t already. Encourage your children to take any Indigenous-based classes that are already available to them.
Call To Action #66: Multi-Year Funding
We call upon the federal government to establish multi-year funding for community-based youth organizations to deliver programs on reconciliation and establish a national network to share information and best practices
Contact your local MP to request funding for these programs and participate in any programs that are already available to you in your community.
Have the government provide the necessary funding to Indigenous schools to utilize Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods in classrooms.
Also, have them establish senior-level positions in government at the assistant deputy minister level or higher dedicated to Indigenous content in education.
Call To Action #86: History Of Indigenous Peoples
We call upon Canadian journalism programs and media schools to require education for all students on the history of Indigenous peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Indigenous rights, Indigenous law, and Indigenous–Crown relations
Reach out to your local post-secondary institutions and media program coordinators to advocate for this education and request that it be implemented and ask about what they are doing already, if anything.
Call To Action #87: Indigenous Athletes In History
We call upon all levels of government, in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, sports halls of fame, and other relevant organizations, to provide public education that tells the national story of Indigenous athletes in history.
Write to any sports halls of fame that you’re aware of and encourage them to include features and education regarding Indigenous athletes in history. You should inquire about their Indigenous athletes and education the next time you visit.
A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available to provide support for former residential school students. To speak to someone, call 1-866-925-4419.