Bob Joseph

Recent Posts

Reconciliation Isn’t Dead. Here are 94 Reasons Why

This year, 2020, has seen some difficult moments in Indigenous relations in this country. But, I don’t think it has been so dire that reconciliation can be deemed dead, as some naysayers are declaring. Do they have the right to make that declaration? What is to be gained by declaring reconciliation dead? Why would anyone want to give up at this point? What is there to gain from giving up? And those who make this declaration, do they have an alternative option? Something better that is going to effectively change the status quo faster?  

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Back to School Then and Now

This article includes a video of a conversation I had with my father Chief Robert Joseph O.C, O.B.C, about his first day at residential school and how he felt when he took his children to school. 

The return to school in September fills some with great glee and others with a pit of dread in their stomach. This year, under the shadow of COVID-19, teachers, parents, and caregivers, alike share a common theme of deep concern and anxiety about how safety measures of physical distancing can be managed in classrooms, during recess and lunch breaks, and during sports activities in order to protect the students. 

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What is Orange Shirt Day?

Orange shirt day is a movement that officially began in 2013 but in reality it began in 1973 when six year old Phyllis Webstad entered the St. Joseph Mission Residential School, outside of Williams Lake, BC. Young Phyllis was wearing a brand new orange shirt for her first day of school – new clothes being a rare and wonderful thing for a First Nation girl growing up in her grandmother’s care - but the Mission Oblates quickly stripped her of her new shirt and replaced it with the school’s institutional uniform.

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The Day I Met Joe Gosnell

First and foremost, on behalf of myself and my father, Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, O.B.C., O.C, I want to give my condolences to the Gosnell family and the Nisga’a Nation for the loss of a great leader, Mr. Joe Gosnell. We would like to express our gratitude and admiration for the work that he did. We believe that the nation was better because Joe was here. 

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ABC of Indigenous Awareness

We have over 700 articles on our blog so decided to see if we could put the blog to the test of having an article that applied to every letter of the alphabet. Well, with a wee bit of leniency, at the very least, we have articles that apply in some way from A to Z. We really struggled with the "x" and "z".

Here are our ABCs of Indigenous Awareness:

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The Impact Of COVID-19 On Indigenous Cultural Continuity

The COVID-19 pandemic could be the single greatest threat in this generation to the continuity of Indigenous cultures and preservation of languages. The danger of infection has put on hold countless cultural activities and collective ceremonies around the world. Indigenous peoples in both urban and rural locals account today for over 476 million individuals spread across 90 countries, accounting for 6.2% of the global population, according to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. “Indigenous communities are nearly three times as likely to be living in extreme poverty, and thus more prone to infectious diseases. Many indigenous communities are already suffering from malnutrition and immune-suppressive conditions, which can increase susceptibility to infectious diseases.” [1]  Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

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Meaningful Consultation: Happy Days or Project Delays

Recent events in Canada have shown that resource development projects can face extensive resistance with the affected Indigenous communities if consultation efforts are not meaningful, comprehensive, address the concerns of Indigenous Peoples and not just the legal requirements. With all of the court cases on the books defining title and the duty to consult, all the examples of how not to conduct engagement, and all the examples of how to effectively and successfully engage with a community, it is surprising that at this point in our history that we are still climbing the learning curve.

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The Red Paper: A Counter-Punch to the White Paper

There have been watershed moments in the history of Canada in which Indigenous leaders, outside of the courts, have stood up for their rights to the federal government and actually forced a change in policy direction. We’ve written about a couple of them in our blog Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples®

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Celebrate 21 Indigenous Athletes for National Indigenous Peoples Day

Indigenous athletes often face tremendous difficulties beyond the rigours of training for their sport. They are frequently from geographically and economically challenged home communities which means access to elite training facilities and resources for training and travelling for training can be limited. During national and international competitions, they can be subjected to institutionalized racism and stereotyping. 

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A Brief Timeline of the History of Indigenous Relations in Canada

National Indigenous Peoples History Month is a time to acknowledge the history of Indigenous relations and Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Reconciliation, in part, means learning about the past in order to understand the present, and with that understanding, contribute to creating a better future for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada. 

On the dedication page for 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples A Reality, I quote former Governor General Michaëlle Jean at the relaunch of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada:

When the present does not recognize the wrongs of the past, the future takes its revenge. For that reason, we must never, never turn away from the opportunity of confronting history together - the opportunity to right a historical wrong.”

Prior to 2015, when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada published its final report and 94 calls to action, much of the history of the Crown-Indigenous relations was not taught in schools so simply was unknown to a vast percentage of the population. “I just didn’t know” is a common refrain when the topics of residential schools or the sixties scoop or the relocation of Inuit come up.

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