Insight on 10 myths about Indigenous Peoples

The definition of “myth”, according to the Oxford Canadian Dictionary, is “a widely held but false notion.” When it comes to the topic of Indigenous Peoples there are many widely held but false notions or myths.

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Appreciating or appropriating Indigenous culture?

A reader recently asked us a question about talking sticks.  We changed the question up a little so as to preserve the confidentiality of the questioner.  

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Why Cultural Appropriation is Disrespectful

Randomly plucking “popularized” images of a marginalized culture for entertainment without respect for or an understanding of the culture is culturally disrespectful.

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Let’s Not Make Reconciliation A Political Football

 

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Things to know when selecting your Truth and Reconciliation calls to action trainer

It has been over three years (June 2, 2015) now since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada released its summary report and 94 calls to action for reconciliation. Testimony gathered during a six-year period from over 7,000 survivors of the residential school system, forms the basis of the report.The calls to action (CTAs) targeted key institutionsincluding child welfare, health, justice, education, and business.

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What reconciliation is and what it is not

For a very long time, mainstream Canadians were unaware of the horrors and conditions that 150,000 Indigenous children endured in the Indian residential schools over a period of more than 100 years. For many Canadians, the first inkling of the atrocities the children suffered was when then Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered the Statement of Apology on behalf of Canadians for the Indian residential school system in 2008.

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The Indian Act and Bestseller in the same sentence

I want to reflect on how the social and political landscape of Canada is changing. It may not be as fast as some of us would like, or as all-encompassing, but it is happening.

I’m convinced partially because I am an Indigenous relations trainer and my training calendar is increasingly at capacity. The increase in demand for information about Indigenous Peoples started to pick up about five years ago and has increased sharply in the last 12 months. The people taking our courses are from all walks of life. Some take the training for personal growth, as a pledge to reconciliation, while others are there because their corporate leaders or department heads want the team to have Indigenous relations training.

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Shoebox Campaign is an opportunity to connect with Indigenous students

Sometimes it’s the simplest gestures that have the greatest impacts. The Shoebox Campaign is one such example. If you are unfamiliar with the campaign, it’s a very simple concept. Fill a shoe box with age and gender appropriate gifts, write a note to the student to let them know you care and encourage them to continue in school, include five dollars for shipping, and drop off at a collection point. Or, you can order pre-filled shoeboxes online. It’s that easy. And so effective. Schools in the program see an immediate drop in absenteeism and an increase in enrollment.

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Indigenous issues articles: Is it time for specific headlines?

“Although daily newspapers have covered Indigenous issues extensively, news organizations are being called upon to reach a higher standard. As Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Marie Wilson put it when she spoke to Ryerson’s School of Journalism, “Journalists must embrace their role as educators when reporting on Indigenous issues and recognize how their work shapes perceptions.” [1]

For many Canadians their sole source of information about Indigenous Peoples is via articles in print or online. Given that readers increasingly scan the headline before sharing on social media or moving onto another article, there has never been a greater need for specificity in headlines.

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Some Indigenous Protocol Examples

Updated: January, 2017

We are at an interesting juncture in Canada in terms of Indigenous relations. On the one hand there is an awakening and awareness on the part of mainstream Canadians, the media, and governments that is contributing to a landscape of reconciliation. This awareness and awakening is causing many to accept and reconcile, rather than hide from, uncomfortable truths about the history of Canada and how Indigenous Peoples have been treated. It is also generating calls by Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians for the removal of tributes to historical figures who were particularly ruthless in their treatment of Indigenous Peoples. On the other hand, there are some Canadians who struggle to make a name for themselves by clinging to and broadcasting their colonial ideals and beliefs. I don’t want to give any airtime to the latter - they simply don’t warrant any attention.

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