Become a Mentor to Indigenous Youth as a Part of Your Reconciliation Journey

If you want to be an ally to the Indigenous community, becoming a mentor at Urban Native Youth Association (UNYA) is a great opportunity. The Mentorship Program is one of 20+ programs that UNYA offers to Indigenous youth in Vancouver. UNYA is a prevention-focused organization that delivers a broad range of programs and services that meet both the immediate and long-term needs of the youth in the community.

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How Can You Politely Correct Someone Without Causing Guilt or Reaction?

By Bronte Phillips

Maybe you have recently taken one of our courses surrounding Indigenous Awareness and learned new facts about the history of Indigenous Peoples of Canada, or perhaps you read the book, 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act. A discussion among coworkers or peers arises and you overhear or witness a myth or a stereotype being reinforced. How can you as a non-Indigenous person speak up and share your knowledge without causing shame, guilt or embarrassment and engaging people's inner defence mechanisms?

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The First Thanksgiving in North America was not held by Europeans

The descendants of European settlers are brought up believing that it was their ancestors who celebrated the first thanksgiving after surviving the harsh weather, and overcoming the uncertainty of ingesting unknown plants and animals of their new “home”. This is not true. But where did it begin? Here’s a brief look at its origins.

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Reflections on the National Day of Truth & Reconciliation

It is vital that the commitment to Truth and Reconciliation does not fade just a few weeks after the first National Day.

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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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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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Why Cultural Appropriation is Disrespectful

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

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The UN Declaration and Consent-based Consultation

“The Government will move forward to introduce legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples before the end of this year.” [1] 

As I listened to the speech from the throne on September 23, 2020, I was interested to hear a renewed promise from the federal government to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Before the end of this calendar year. That’s an admirable goal, but one I am not sure we will see reach fruition, given that the world is engulfed in a global pandemic and nations are struggling to stimulate economic growth and get their citizens safely back to work and their children safely back to school.  Still, I have my fingers crossed. 

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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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