Canada is not a half-mast nation

The price of Trudeau's empty gesture was nothing less than a cheapening of the Canadian idea

Canada is not a half-mast nationThe Trudeau government’s decision to keep the Canadian flag at half-mast for more than five months was never more than a half-baked idea. On May 30 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canadian flag would fly at half-mast on federal buildings in remembrance of the residential school students who did not return to their…

Jordan Abel’s memoir, Nishga, probes a dark history

A personal story of intergenerational trauma that was almost too painful to write

Jordan Abel’s memoir, Nishga, probes a dark historyThere were times Jordan Abel wished he’d never started Nishga, the memoir that earned him a nomination for Canada’s biggest non-fiction honour, the Hilary Weston Prize. Writing the book was just too painful, he said. It probes the darkest moments of his family’s history, particularly “the wake of violence that ripples outwards” from the Coqualeetza Industrial Institute,…

Oil and gas provides nothing but opportunity for Indigenous peoples

The success of the industry is a success for Indigenous people

Oil and gas provides nothing but opportunity for Indigenous peoplesI learned from my dad about sharing opportunities and lending a helping hand. That principle of generosity now sets the tone for my business and its interactions with customers. The oil and natural gas industry has provided opportunities for me and my family, which I’m proud to pay forward to my employees, community and beyond.…

Murray Sinclair to receive honorary degree from U of A

Truth and Reconciliation Commission chair will give a virtual address during fall convocation

Murray Sinclair to receive honorary degree from U of AThe Honourable Murray Sinclair, the first Indigenous judge in Manitoba and the driving force behind the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, will deliver the commencement address virtually to graduands as part of the University of Alberta’s fall convocation ceremony to be held Nov. 19. Sinclair is Anishinaabe and a member of the Peguis First Nation. “On…

We must accept the mistakes of the past and make them right

What can be said of those who deny the past and ignore the inherent human rights of their neighbours?

We must accept the mistakes of the past and make them rightIt’s a normal human reaction not only to acknowledge when we’ve done something wrong but to seek to make reparations and heal the relationship with the person we’ve harmed. This is also true on a societal level. As I complete teaching my unit on the residential school system in Canada, I ask students to reflect…

Want justice for Indigenous children? Then demand it

Governments will only do the right thing if we, as Canadians, demand it

Want justice for Indigenous children? Then demand itI try to be optimistic and embrace the truth that “the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice.” When I examine how the Canadian government treats Indigenous children, however, it’s hard not to be cynical. I began teaching my Social Justice 12 unit on residential schools by watching Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2008 apology…

National Day of Truth and Reconciliation well-intentioned but hollow

The transition from symbolism to action will be more difficult than Canadians imagine

National Day of Truth and Reconciliation well-intentioned but hollowCanada’s first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation fell far short of expectations. The continuing pandemic did not help, nor did the unevenness of the holiday/commemoration across the country. As expected, most Canadians who had a day off used it as personal time. Only a small number took the opportunity to engage with Indigenous peoples…

If you voted for Trudeau and you’re angry about Tofino, you’re a hypocrite

Our surfer boy PM has been a national and international embarrassment since 2015

If you voted for Trudeau and you’re angry about Tofino, you’re a hypocriteWhen Justin Trudeau was first elected prime minister in 2015, there were political issues he said he wanted to tackle immediately. One of his earliest priorities was a desire to repair Canada's fractious relationship with the Indigenous community. "It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples," he told some Quebec-based First…

Only truth will put us on the path to reconciliation

We must educate the many Canadians who don’t know what happened to our Indigenous neighbours

Only truth will put us on the path to reconciliationI’ve been teaching high school students about Canada’s residential schools for a number of years. Indigenous content has recently been given a more prominent place in the British Columbia curriculum, and this has had an impact. Students now come to my class with some understanding of this tragic chapter in our history, and we’re able…

Five things we all need to know about reconciliation in health care

First Indigenous president of the Canadian Medical Association speaks about what it will take to overcome inequities

Five things we all need to know about reconciliation in health careOn Canada’s newly-declared National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we asked Dr. Alika Lafontaine to take stock of the state of reconciliation in health care. Lafontaine, an anesthesiologist at Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Grande Prairie and associate clinical professor in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, was recently chosen as the…

How did we make reconciliation about white folks?

Many of the educational efforts associated with reconciliation are targeted at non-Indigenous peoples

How did we make reconciliation about white folks?Something strange has been happening on the road to true reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission produced clear recommendations on how the country could shed the bitter legacy of Indigenous residential schools. Yet, following revelations about gravesites near formal residential schools, the process seems to have morphed into measures designed to serve…

What can we expect from our leaders on Indigenous issues?

The parties' records over the last 13 years are revealing

What can we expect from our leaders on Indigenous issues?If Canadians are as concerned as they claim about the increasing number of unmarked graves found near former residential schools, the 2021 federal election will be pivotal. Each of the major political parties displays a clear track record exposing their views on Indigenous issues, domestically and abroad. The residential school apology on June 11, 2008,…

Understanding treaties is essential to reconciliation

Indigenous peoples agreed to share the land – with conditions. It’s important that we learn and talk about what that means

Understanding treaties is essential to reconciliationMy husband and I grew up in families that hunted wild game, mainly moose, for our primary meat source. So, it is no surprise that our children grew up hunting and eating wild game. Now our six-year-old grandson is learning the importance of our interconnectedness to our four-legged relative, the moose, and to the land.…

How to be a better treaty person

No two treaty agreements are alike, but all of them offer a lot to the people who reside on treaty territory

How to be a better treaty personMost Indigenous people know that their ancestors envisioned a strong future for them through treaty negotiations, says Chelsea Vowel, an assistant lecturer at the U of A’s Faculty of Native Studies. And many Indigenous people have signed treaties, which describe how they can live together in a good way with settler society (descendants of European…

What if money is not the answer for Indigenous communities?

The feds tend to use money as a surrogate to real commitment

What if money is not the answer for Indigenous communities?The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made extraordinary financial commitments to Indigenous peoples in Canada. The number and scale of the allocations over the past few years have been staggering, both in comparative and absolute terms. Last week, the federal government and First Nations reached an agreement on water supplies on reserves, estimated…

Who is to blame for the church burnings across Canada?

Mainstream media may have lit the fuse, but there were accomplices

Who is to blame for the church burnings across Canada?Mainstream media lit a fuse, and churches are burning. Nearly two dozen to date and a greater number have been vandalized with graffiti, paint-dipped handprints, and splatter. Some congregations have accepted acts of vandalism as a visual lesson on the road to reconciliation. Others wonder if their place of worship is safe, or a safe…

Why the Calls to Action should be Canada’s guidebook

Canada is facing a pivotal moment. We can choose to keep the truth buried or we can choose to heal

Why the Calls to Action should be Canada’s guidebookCanada Day 2021 was like none other in our history. The unmarked gravesites of children who died at residential schools seemed to be on everyone’s mind. Efforts to “kill the Indian in the child” in residential schools did tremendous damage to our country. Today, Indigenous people are disproportionately represented in our prison system, their high…

Cheap talk and unsubstantiated claims hamper reconciliation

Vacuous electoral promises and virtue-signalling schemes won’t deliver the outcomes Indigenous Canadians need

Cheap talk and unsubstantiated claims hamper reconciliationCanada has consistently failed to make progress commensurate with the many lofty pronouncements and expectations on the Indigenous file. It’s a national shame that most Indigenous Canadians on reservations live far below acceptable socio-economic standards. Money isn’t the problem. By 2022, the federal budget allocations to Indigenous will have doubled since 2016 to nearly $25…

What the Germans can teach us about reconciliation

They’re not guilty of the crimes of their ancestors but they are responsible for building a more peaceful and tolerant country

What the Germans can teach us about reconciliationWhen Germany talked about reuniting as one country after the fall of the Berlin Wall in late 1989, many world leaders were quite concerned, especially British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and French President François Mitterrand. But Germany wasn’t the same country it was in the first half of the 20th century, and today it isn’t…

Session helps researchers practise Indigenous-engaged scholarship

SKIPP offers a space to discuss ethical and respectful research as part of Career Corner series at Congress 2021 virtual conference

Session helps researchers practise Indigenous-engaged scholarshipChanging standards around Indigenous engagement in research is a key initiative of the University of Alberta’s Situated Knowledges: Indigenous Peoples and Place (SKIPP) signature area. Florence Glanfield, SKIPP co-lead, will help share that focus with early-career researchers during the 2021 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. On June 3, Glanfield, who is also vice-provost (Indigenous programming and…

Director examines colonization in production of classical play

Actor, playwright, director, producer Reneltta Arluk returns to U of A as first Indigenous woman to direct on Timms Centre’s main stage

Director examines colonization in production of classical playReneltta Arluk admits being the first Indigenous woman to graduate from the University of Alberta’s BFA acting program in 2005 was a hard-won distinction. In a moment of frank disclosure, Arluk recalls confronting no small measure of racial bias among certain faculty members who made her feel she had no right to be there. Some…

Researcher reveals history of assimilative tactics on Blood Reserve

Hopes her work will help intergenerational survivors

Researcher reveals history of assimilative tactics on Blood ReserveThe residential school system is the focal point of truth and reconciliation efforts with Indigenous peoples in Canada. But a University of Alberta education researcher says the schools, which operated in Canada until 1996, aren’t the whole story. Dr. Tiffany Prete, an adjunct professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies, has been conducting research…

Indigenous Canadians must remove obstacles to reconciliation

It takes two to reconcile

Indigenous Canadians must remove obstacles to reconciliationCanada’s Indigenous policy has officially been one of “reconciliation” between Indigenous Canadians and non-Indigenous Canadians since the Liberals came to power in 2015. Too many Indigenous Canadians remain on the margins and billions have been spent to remove obstacles to success. But it takes two to reconcile. There are also obstacles that Indigenous Canadians could…

We minimize, revise and ignore history at our own peril

Confronting the horrors of our past and trying to make things right isn’t an easy task but a peace comes from doing the right thing

We minimize, revise and ignore history at our own perilIt seems that everywhere we turn we find a new scandal, some memory from the past that haunts us. Though virtually every state and institution has something to hide, there’s something liberating in speaking the truth. While his tenure hasn’t been without controversy, many around the world have been relieved to see the openness and…

Indigenous engagement charts positive course for oil and gas industry

Environmentalists only support Indigenous peoples when the First Nations and Métis agree with them

Indigenous engagement charts positive course for oil and gas industryMuch as opponents of Canadian oil and gas production hate to admit it, the future of the industry appears to be set. Construction on the Coastal GasLink pipeline to Kitimat, B.C., continues. Work on the Trans Mountain pipeline is well advanced. The Canadian portion of Enbridge’s Line 3 is essentially finished. Protests killed the Northern…

Indigenous communities see ocean of opportunity in oil and gas

Indigenous communities see ocean of opportunity in oil and gasEditor’s note: Indigenous communities across Canada are learning how to prosper in a new era of co-operation in oil and gas development. Setting aside old grievances, industry, government and First Nations communities are working together to ensure that, as equal partners, Canada’s Indigenous peoples enjoy employment and sustainable growth trickles down to them. In this…

Showing respect for Indigenous priorities can pay dividends

Showing respect for Indigenous priorities can pay dividendsEditor’s note: Indigenous communities across Canada are learning how to prosper in a new era of co-operation in oil and gas development. Setting aside old grievances, industry, government and First Nations communities are working together to ensure that, as equal partners, Canada’s Indigenous peoples enjoy employment and sustainable growth trickles down to them. “Reconciliation begins…

Indigenous people ready to do business with oil and gas

Road to Reconciliation begins when Indigenous people can stand on their own two feet financially and when their quality of life increases

Indigenous people ready to do business with oil and gasEditor’s note: Indigenous communities across Canada are learning how to prosper in a new era of co-operation in oil and gas development. Setting aside old grievances, industry, government and First Nations communities are working together to ensure that, as equal partners, Canada’s Indigenous peoples enjoy employment and that sustainable growth trickles down to them. In…

From a bitter past to the sweet taste of opportunity

Road to Reconciliation: An examination of what meaningful consultation and economic reconciliation look like

From a bitter past to the sweet taste of opportunityIf you relied on the headlines alone, you might conclude that the Indigenous peoples of Canada are squarely against oil and gas development. You would be wrong. Headlines, by their nature, highlight crisis and conflict in simplified terms. But the debate over Indigenous support for resource development is highly nuanced. Readers must go beyond the…