Bob Joseph

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Scientific and Indigenous Perspectives

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14 Facts You May Not Know About Contributions of Indigenous Veterans

Did you know November 8 is Indigenous Veterans Day? If you are new to the knowledge of the significant contributions of Indigenous veterans during the First and Second World Wars, and the Korean War, here are some facts to pique your interest and build your knowledge.

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Indigenous Veterans: Equals on the Battlefields, But Not at Home

Indigenous Peoples in Canada have fought on the front line of every major battle Canada has been involved in, and have done so with valour and distinction. It is estimated that 7,000 First Nations People served in the First and Second World Wars, and the Korean War; an unknown number of Métis, Inuit and non-Status Indians also served. However, it was not until 1995, fifty years after the Second World War that Indigenous Peoples were allowed to lay Remembrance Day wreaths at the National War Memorial to remember and honour their dead comrades.

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National Day of Truth & Reconciliation, September 30

Orange is the New Symbol of Truth & Reconciliation

The recent discoveries of 215 unmarked graves at a former Residential School near Kamloops, British Columbia and subsequent discoveries at other Residential Schools have brought the issue of Truth and Reconciliation sharply back into focus. While most Canadians were made aware of the excesses and degradations visited upon Indigenous children through such announcements as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Statement of Apology in 2008, the Idle No More movement, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission with its 94 calls to action, few non-Indigenous people knew just how horrendous these “schools” were.

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Canadian Indigenous Code Talkers Remain Unacknowledged

The ability to send encrypted, unintelligible messages is crucial for keeping the wraps on military campaigns. The Germans, in the 1920s, developed the Enigma machine which scrambled messages using a letter substitution system and variable rotors. Decoding the messages required knowledge of the exact settings of the wheels. The Germans believed the Enigma code was unbreakable and used it extensively for transmitting communications during WWII. The British, with input from Polish engineers, were eventually able to decipher the messages. And the Germans were able to break the British naval codes. The weak links in coded messages were the reliance on recognized language and numerical systems. 

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Indigenous War Heroes - More Than a Few Good Men

When we think of Aboriginal war heroes Tommy George Prince immediately and justifiably jumps to mind. But, there are many other Indigenous heroes who fought on the front lines of every major battle Canada has been involved in.

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What’s the Difference Between Historic and Modern Treaties?

We have received requests to provide a description of the difference between historic and modern treaties. This article attempts to answer the question plus provide some additional background. 

For terms of reference, historic treaties were made between 1701 and 1923. Historic treaties were marked in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and parts of British Columbia; the first  modern treaty was signed in 1975.

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First Nation Protocol on Treaty Lands

In this little article we talk about how to follow First Nations protocol on First Nations treaty lands. It can be customary between one First Nation and another to acknowledge the host First Nation Peoples and their treaty territory at the outset of any meeting. The long struggle for respect has been tough, but through it all First Nation protocol has survived and thrived as we see more continued effort to follow basic protocol.

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7 First Nation Facts You Should Know

Here are seven First Nation facts plus one fun fact to add to your storehouse of knowledge.

1)  Number of Nations
There are over 634 recognized First Nations governments or bands, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The total population with First Nation identity is more than 850,000 [1]

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Reconciling Thanksgiving

 

 “. . . Reconciliation is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country. In order for that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, an acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour.” [1]

This article is intended to bring awareness to the past and provide “some food for thought” about the Thanksgiving narrative many of us have been raised to believe. 

Note: In this article, we use the term “tribes” as that is the terminology used in the United States.

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