• Canada committed to improving mental health in Indigenous communities

    Preventing suicide requires achieving social equity. We have already taken important steps by investing in key social determinants of health, such as housing, education and the environment. While these are first steps, our intent is to continue investing in all areas in pursuit of social equity… Promoting life and preventing suicide requires respect for Indigenous knowledge and practices…

  • Beyond denial: Indigenous reconciliation requires recognition

    For reconciliation to fully manifest itself in Canada, denial must be ended in all of its aspects… to guide our work we released 10 principles – Principles Respecting Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples… [to] establish a clear, transparent foundation for reconciliation based on recognition… The principles bring a new direction and standard to how government officials must work and act in partnership with Indigenous peoples

  • John A. Macdonald was the real architect of residential schools

    It was Macdonald, not Langevin, who served as the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs and was responsible for overseeing the establishment of residential schooling… In the late 1870s, Macdonald dreamed of creating an organized system of federal schools for Indigenous children that could be used to disrupt Indigenous lifeways and control over the land to accelerate successful settler colonialism.

  • How to turn Canada 150 into a celebration for everyone

    The original peoples of Canada are founding nations of this country and as such need to be able to govern themselves in full equality with other Canadians. That is certainly not true of our past, or of our present. But it must become the reality of our future… The Indian Act has created a reserve and political structure that actually blocks effective governance and equality. Its continued existence makes the dream of effective sovereignty and good governance impossible.

  • Tide is turning on Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people

    … every once in a while, specific political and economic forces have converged in such a way as to create space for Indigenous people to make very dramatic, important and lasting gains. It is in those openings that we can catch a glimpse of the Canada that can be. And we, on the Indigenous side, can rise to those occasions as well and put the historic pain we have suffered in perspective.

  • On Canada Day let us remind ourselves we have done well, even as we strive to do better

    Rather than endless existential agonizing over “who are we,” civic nationalism asks simply: what do we want to do together? What are the purposes we want to achieve, what are the ideals we want to stand for? … An element of self-criticism, such as we are now going through, is therefore very much in order. So is a sense of proportion. Like any society, Canada has many sins to its name; foremost among them is the historic treatment and present condition of aboriginal Canadians, which is rightly the source of so much shame at present. But it is not the whole of the Canadian story.

  • Why I will celebrate Canada Day

    We have long been a work in progress… Our highest court of appeal rested in Britain until 1949. Our Constitution was not patriated until 1982… By modern standards, Canada has not always acted in an enlightened fashion… Far too often its treatment of Indigenous peoples has been shameful. But not always. In recent decades, the courts in particular have been mindful of Indigenous rights. This is all part of our history. We have to recognize it and deal with it.

  • If we’re serious about reconciliation, here’s some better ideas than wallowing in shame

    … maybe it’s time for some new ideas, to get us beyond the cycles of grievance-reiteration and epochs of national amnesia. Like reconfiguring the Office of Canada’s Governor-General as a permanent indigenous appointment. Like adding a fifth “region” to the Senate, in addition to Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes and the West, to represent the First Nations, Metis and Inuit… At the very least, we might start by recovering Canada’s forgotten history as a country that was being built long before Confederation by indigenous people along with the English and the French…

  • After 150 years, Canada’s Indigenous citizens are finally being heard

    … as the country marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, there is a widespread sense that any celebration… must be tempered by the conscious acknowledgment that the rise of the nation created in 1867 has gone hand in hand with state-enforced maltreatment of the people who were here first… If First Nations, Metis and Inuit people are Canadian, then the history of Canada can’t logically start at Confederation, or even at first contact with European explorers.

  • Is the federal government a champion of reconciliation or of discrimination?

    The effect of long delays in urgent service approvals and service denials are too often the same — the tragic loss of children’s lives… it is a good time to remember that citizenship is not about having blind faith in the government in the face of such clear and compelling evidence of wrongdoing; it is about loving the values that define the country enough to stand up for them.