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How the DSU can play a part in Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples Naiomi W. Metallic.

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Presentation on theme: "How the DSU can play a part in Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples Naiomi W. Metallic."— Presentation transcript:

1 How the DSU can play a part in Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples Naiomi W. Metallic

2 Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (June 2015) “The urgent need for reconciliation runs deep in Canada. … The relationship between the federal government and Aboriginal peoples is deteriorating. Instead of moving towards reconciliation, there have divisive conflicts over Aboriginal education, child welfare and justice. … Too many Canadian know little or nothing about the deep historical roots of these conflicts. This lack of historical knowledge has a serious consequence for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, and for Canada as a whole. … History plays an important role in reconciliation; to build for the future, Canadians must look to, and learn from, the past.” (p. 8) 2

3 Indigenous Population n 1,400,685 people (or 4.3% of the Canadian population) identify as Indigenous. n Over 50 different cultural / linguistic groups –Mi’gmaq, Maliseet, Mohawk, Cree, Dene, Algonquin, Blackfoot, Oneida, Inuit, Métis, etc. n 11 language families n Over 600 First Nation, Inuit and Metis communities across Canada n Significant urban presence too

4 Distribution of Aboriginal Orgins Populations Across Canada


6 Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs (ANSMC) The highest level of decision making in the negotiation process. Comprised of the 13 MS Mi’kmaq Chiefs and 2 ex-officio members, the Grand Chief and the Grand Keptin. Kwilmu'kw Maw- klusuaqn Negotiations Office (KMKNO) Provides administrative and research support to the Assembly and other entities within Made in Nova Scotia Process. Tri-partite Forum Six committees with Mi’kmaq and govn’t reps that discuss and resolve issues of mutual concern: (1) Culture & Heritage; (2) Economic Development; (3) Education; (4) Health; (5) Justice; (6) Social; and (7) Sport & Recreation Negotiation Tripartite negotiations (Canada, Nova Scotia and the Mi’kmaq) over Mi’kmaq rights, title, self- government / self- determination. Consultations Oversees consultation and accommodation by government and industry proponents, consistent with legal duties and Consultation Terms of Reference. MI’KMAQ GOVERNANCE IN NOVA SCOTIA Made in Nova Scotia Process (Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn ) Grand Council – Sante’ Mawio’mi Grand Chief - Kji- Saqmaw Grand Captain - Kji- Keptin PutusDistrict Keptins Ben Sylliboy – Whycocomagh - We’koqma’q Antle Denny – Eskasoni – Eskisoqnik Victor Alex – Eskasoni – Eskisoqnik 30+

7 A non-exclusive list of things you should understand about Indigenous Peoples in Canada n Early history and treaties n Canada’s colonial and assimilative past n Residential schools n Indigenous identity issues n Indigenous governance issues n The 1969 White Paper and its unintended consequences n Aboriginal and treaty rights and title n Land issues n Poverty and program issues on reserve n Justice and human rights issues n Truth and Reconciliation Report and Calls to Action n UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

8 Early Relations (16 th to 19 th centuries) n The first 200-250 years of interaction between Aboriginal people and Europeans settlers was characterized by reliance, mutual-respect and recognition. n Europeans relied on the Aboriginal people to survive the climate, become familiar with food sources. n Trading partners n Military allies 8

9 Recognition of Indigenous Sovereignty, law and customs n Peace and Friendship Treaties English secured Indigenous peace and friendship in their war with the French In return, English promise protection, including right to continue hunting, fishing and gather Aboriginal people seen as distinct nations and British Crown made treaties with on this basis. n Royal Proclamation of 1763 Use of Indigenous lands must be with consent n Later would come the Numbered Treaties based on principle from Royal Proclamation 9

10 The so-called “Indian Problems” and its solution: assimilation “I want to get rid of the Indian problem. I do not think as a matter of fact, that this country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone. … Our object is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed in into the body politic, and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department.” - Duncan Campbell Scott, Deputy Minister, Indian Department, 1929

11 A non-exclusive list of colonial policies and laws intended to assimilate Indigenous peoples n Dislocation and segregation on reserve (+ centralization, pass system, etc.) n Abolish traditional forms of Aboriginal governance - 1869 onwards n Criminalize spiritual practices and ceremonies n Criminalize the practice of traditional subsistence activities by First Nations n Severe restriction on FN participation in agriculture n Withholding ‘citizenship’ until 1960s n Defining who is “Indian” in law and having harsh and discriminatory laws in this regard n Restricting access to the courts n Restricting access to Canadian Human Rights Act

12 Residential Schools “When the school is on the reserve the child lives with its parents, who are savages; he is surrounded by savages, and though he may learn to read and write his habits, and training and mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write. It has been strongly pressed on myself, as the head of the Department, that Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men.” - Sir John A. MacDonald, 1883 12

13 Residential and Indian Day Schools n Indian agents could take children without a warrant n Children not permitted to speak language – could face corporal punishment for doing so n Often overcrowding, disease, malnutrition, poor education in schools n Children were often the source of labour keeping schools running n Physical and sexual abuse was widespread n Nutritional experimentation n Most schools started to close in 1960s - last in 1996 n Class action settlement and apology for Residential School in 2008 and creation of Truth and Reconciliation Commission n Outstanding claims of Indian Day School survivors n No compensation for inter- generational harms

14 Popular myths about Aboriginal Peoples that are false n Aboriginal people don't pay taxes. –Only persons registered under the Indian Act get certain tax benefits, and this is mostly limited to living and working on reserve. All other Aboriginal people have to pay tax. n Aboriginal people get everything for free. –Only persons registered under the Indian Act are entitled to certain health and education benefits, and these benefits are limited in many ways. n Government spends more on Aboriginal people than it does on other any other Canadian. –The average Canadian receives approximately $16,000 annually in programs and services from federal, provincial and municipal governments. Programs and services to persons registered under the Indian Act are provided by only one level of government, the federal government. The amount that reaches communities is less than $9,000 per person per year.

15 Reality Check n Aboriginal people are three times more likely than non- Aboriginals to be victims of violent crime. n Aboriginal people, while they represent only 3.8% of the Canadian population, account for 18% of those who are incarcerated in federal institutions. n Only 8% of Aboriginal peoples, aged 25-34, have a university degree compared to 28% of all Canadians? n Only 24% of Aboriginal peoples under 25 able to converse in an Aboriginal language. n One in four First Nation child live in poverty. n Diabetes among First Nations people is at least three times the national average. n 23% of Aboriginal people live in houses in need of major repairs, compared to just 7% of the non-Aboriginal population. n There are more than 100 First Nations communities under boil water advisories. n High school graduation rates for First Nations youth are half the Canadian rate. n There are more First Nations children in foster care then there were in residential schools when these schools were at their height. n First Nations youth commit suicide at five to eight times the Canadian rate.

16 James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, wrote in 2014: “The human rights problems faced by indigenous problems in Canada … have reached crisis proportions in many respect … [t]he most jarring manifestation of these human rights problems is the distressing socio-economic conditions of indigenous peoples in a highly developed country.”

17 Neglect and underfunding n First Nations often a political hot-potato – neither provinces nor feds want to legislate or fund core services on reserve n Little accountability of whether core programs are adequately funded n Provincial standards applied by default and are not culturally appropriate n Right to self-government / self-determination is largely ignored n Self-government negotiations have been proceeding at snail’s pace 17

18 Child Welfare Education Language and Culture Health Justice Reconciliation & UNDRIP Royal Proclamation & Covenant Settlement Agreement Parties Equity in Legal System National Council for Reconciliation Training for Public Servants TRC made 94 Recommendations in 22 Areas: Church Apologies Education for Reconciliation Youth Programs Museums and Archives Missing Children National Centre Commemoration Media and Reconciliation Sports Reconciliation Business and Reconciliation Newcomers to Canada All 22 areas have potential implications for Dalhousie

19 Relevant TRC calls to actions:


21 Relevant TRC calls to action

22 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) n Contains 46 articles that address Indigenous peoples’ right to land, resources, self-determination, self- government, consultation, economic rights, culture, language, non-discrimination and other topics. n Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended that UNDRIP form the framework for repairing the relationship between Canada and its Aboriginal people. 22

23 1. Ensure institutional commitment at every level to develop opportunities for Indigenous students. 2. Be student-centered: focus on the learners, learning outcomes and learning abilities, and create opportunities that promote student success. 3. Recognize the importance of indigenization of curricula through responsive academic programming, support programs, orientations, and pedagogies. 4. Recognize the importance of Indigenous education leadership through representation at the governance level and within faculty, professional and administrative staff. 5. Continue to build welcoming and respectful learning environments on campuses through the implementation of academic programs, services, support mechanisms, and spaces dedicated to Indigenous students. 6. Continue to develop resources, spaces and approaches that promote dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. 7. Continue to develop accessible learning environments off-campus Universities Canada Principles on Indigenous Education

24 8. Recognize the value of promoting partnerships among educational and local Indigenous communities and continue to maintain a collaborative and consultative process on the specific needs of Indigenous students. 9. Build on successful experiences and initiatives already in place at universities across the country to share and learn from promising practices, while recognizing the differences in jurisdictional and institutional mission. 10. Recognize the importance of sharing information within the institution, and beyond, to inform current and prospective Indigenous students of the array of services, programs and supports available to them on campus. 11. Recognize the importance of providing greater exposure and knowledge for non-Indigenous students on the realities, histories, cultures and beliefs of Indigenous people in Canada. 12. Recognize the importance of fostering intercultural engagement among Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, faculty and staff. 13. Recognize the role of institutions in creating an enabling and supportive environment for a successful and high quality K-12 experience for Aboriginal youth. Universities Canada Principles on Indigenous Education

25 How can DSU play a role in Reconciliation? n Regular education for DSU Council n Ensure representation on Council and committees n Collaborate with DNSA n Signs / symbols n Recognition of unceeded Mi’kmaq territory n Include Indigenous peoples / practice in your events n …?

26 End Wela’lioq Naiomi Metallic Burchells LLP 1801 Hollis Street, Suite 1800 Halifax, NS B3J 3N4 t. 902.428-8344 f. 902.420.9326

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