On this year’s final addition of InFocus, Host Melissa Ridgen took a hard look at how 2018 was in terms of reconciliation.
What were the steps forward, and backward, this year? Was there meaningful effort or just talking points and empty gestures?
“We have to remember that Indigenous peoples are healing, in the either, the aftermath or still while cultural genocide is still actively occurring in this country,” said Ry Moran, director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. “So the focus on healing, the focus on protecting ourselves, the focus on protecting our children and our identities and our language is fundamental to the process of reconciliation.
“And the principles of reconciliation really affirm that.”
He went on to say that Canadians have to recognise that all Canadians have a role to play.
“For non-Indigenous people it’s about knowing, and willing to be held to account and being responsible for, our collective actions as a country,” Moran said. “In terms of monitoring, being transparent in where we’re doing things and not doing things and really aggressively addressing our gaps in knowledge, are absolutely essential.
“So people need to learn more, they need to listen more, they need to listen, not with their heads but with their hearts. And really we have to start with the very basic understanding that this is indigenous land.”
Trevor Greyeyes, owner, editor and publisher of First Nations Voice Newspaper, shared a story of an event he covered for his paper.
“I covered the opening of the Truth and Reconciliation office on Main and Portage and I remember, I’m not going to say his name because he’s retired from politics now… he comes, it’s his chance to speak with a bunch of dignitaries and says, ‘I don’t know much about history, I don’t know much about residential schools, but if this means you people are finally going to get over it, I’m all for it.’ which kind of left me kind of shocked,” Greyeyes said.
Greyeyes told us that that after the report came out it, that comment made more sense to him.
“I read something with now Senator Murray Sinclair and he was saying that he thought it (reconciliation) would take more than a generation. At the time I was thinking, a generation? I can see where he’s coming from,” he said.
“That right now, we’re still in the discussion phase, you know. I don’t think we’re really in an action phase yet.”
Historian and colonization academic Ian Mosby said of the TRC’s 94 calls to action, only eight have so far been acted upon.
Former Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak grand chief Sheila North said Gerald Stanley and Ray Cormier verdicts, the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion purchase and cuts to Indigenous curriculum in Ontario schools were just a few of the many steps backwards towards reconciliation in 2018.