Envisioning Reconciliation at the Personal Level
Contemporary Non-Stó:lō Indigenous Voices from Social Media
A member of the Gitxsan First Nation, Blackstock is a researcher, educator, and advocate involved in Indigenous children, youth, and family rights. She has 25 years of experience in social work practice, specifically in child protection services. She was influential in holding Canada responsible for their treatment of Indigenous kids, fighting for the implementation of Jordan’s Principle. She is the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. Much of her social media presence in relevance to reconciliation is related to equity for Indigenous children and in access to public services
Source: Fncaringsociety. (2016, May 19). Reconciliation through the Eyes of Summer. [Video file] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=dMyr0VXfxNw
“To me reconciliation is when a feud between two finally is over and finally people can heal, so to me it looks like peace and harmony, like a big weight and a big burden lifted off of people’s shoulders.” (0:26-0:44)
George-Wilson, Leah [no bio provided]
Source: George-Wilson, L. [GWLeah] (2012, Nov 2) [Tweet] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/GWLeah/status/264467548756656128
“Bob Watts: forgiveness if ourselves, in the families, diff levels of Reconciliation. Some will be public some will be private: #TRC”
Contemporary Non-Stó:lō Indigenous Voices Through Social Media
Source: TEDx Talks. (2016, May 24). Healing a Nation Through Truth and Reconciliation | Chief Dr Robert Joseph | TEDxEastVan [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJQgpuLq1LI
“Reconciliation really, at the heart of it all, is this idea of love, of loving yourself, of loving others.” (7:58-8:08)
Chief Dr. Robert Joseph is a Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation and is a leader in reconciliation efforts. He is the co-founder of and ambassador for Reconciliation Canada, member of the National Assembly of First Nations Elders Council, and an honourary witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is dedicated to bringing people together in peace and working towards harmony and healing, bringing a message of optimism and hope. The vision that he presents for reconciliation is focused on relationship, healing, love, mutual respect, and moving forward in harmony. Many of his ideas are shared on social media through Reconciliation Canada platforms.
Source: Reconciliation Canada [Rec_Can] (2019, Jan 20). [Tweet] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/Rec_Can/status/1087017156750073856
‘“There are so many ways to act out reconciliation from an individual basis and we don’t recognize them. If we consciously make an effort, we build the volume of #reconciliation…and make people feel like they belong and they’re loved and they’re cared for.” - Chief Robert Joseph”
“One of the most powerful catalysts that has allowed me to step outside of the historic legacy and downward trajectory that my family tree has too often been on, has been knowledge of that historic context itself. By becoming aware of the intergenerational impacts of residential schools I was able to start stepping out of it myself. To make the conscientious decision that I am not going to treat my kids the same way that I was treated. That I am going to work hard each and every day to be a better dad, to be more supportive, to be a better partner, to be more communicative. And those things don’t happen by accident, it takes work. That’s the unsexy work of decolonization. It’s way cooler to be on a barricade wearing camouflage, but as it turns out it’s much more impactful to stay at home, and raise your kids, and put food on the table, and speak your language to them.” (28:02 -28:58)
Source: Pathways to Reconciliation. (2016, June 23). Wab Kinew - Understanding Reconciliation: Mere co-existence, New Foundation, or Mutual Celebration? [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0ANffmvLpU
Leader of the Manitoba NDP Party, Honourary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and author of The Reason You Walk. He is from the Onigaming First Nation, in Northwestern Ontario. Kinew is an influential figure on social media in regards to the conversation on reconciliation in Canada. He speaks about reconciliation as a personal process as well as the reification of Indigenous nationhood and equality for Indigenous communities.
Contemporary Non-Stó:lō Indigenous Voices Through Social Media
Source: Alfred, Taiaiake. Public lecture “Reconciliation as Recolonization.” Montreal, September 20, 2016. Retrieved from: https://taiaiake.net/2016/10/03/reconciliation-as-recolonization-highlights/
Dr. Alfred Taiaiake, is a Mohawk scholar and activist. In this public lecture, Taiaiake emphasizes the major concern regarding meaningful reconciliation - stolen land. For Taiaiake, stolen land is the root cause of all issues within Indigenous communities, including the continued violence and poverty. Dr. Taiaiake also discusses the significance of healing for Indigenous peoples across Canada, along with the importance of connecting with their ancestral vision and heritage, compared to the State lead form of reconciliation that places a monetary value with a cap on the damage caused from colonialism and subsequent settler society. As a result, Indigenous populations throughout Canada navigate through two competing worlds.
“Is it an Indian problem or is it a colonizer problem? To me it’s a colonizer problem because Canadian society is founded by colonizers and people who don’t want to be colonizers and who react with horror to idea that they are colonizers, are actually inheriting all the benefits of colonization and not really doing much to challenge it. People might say that’s unfair, like, well, “reconciliation is just starting,” you know, the 90’s that’s you had the royal commission, we had the residential school apology, we had this development of this reconciliation framework, which is starting... I say “well, yeah we have a reconciliation framework to start but that’s kind of letting people off real easy because people have known about thefts and people have known about this for a long long long time.” And now people are just getting to the point of dealing with it in a kind of abstract way.” (10:52 – 11:40)
Source: Alfred, Taiaiake and Jeff Corntassel. “Being Indigenous: Resurgences against Contemporary Colonialism.” Government and Opposition. Vol. 40, Issue 4 (September 20th, 2005), 597 - 614. Retrieved from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1477-7053.2005.00166.x.
In this article Indigenous scholars Taiaiake Alfred and Jeff Corntassel highlight how Indigenous identities continue to be encroached upon by settler societies and states, along with multinational corporations and state actors. The co-authors also discuss how despite this encroachment, Indigenous communities can resist and regenerate themselves both politically and culturally against colonial dominance. Their main question they seek to solve is, how can Indigenous peoples resist this continual colonial-driven dispossession and strive towards a decolonized reality?
“Indigenous pathways of authentic action and freedom struggle start with people transcending colonialism on an individual basis – a strength that soon reverberates outward from the self to family, clan, community and into all of the broader relationships that form an Indigenous existence. In this way, Indigenousness is reconstructed, reshaped and actively lived as resurgence against the dispossessing and demeaning processes of annihilation that are inherent to colonialism.” Page 612
Contemporary Stó:lō Voices through Recent Interviews
“It seems that most of the work around the idea of reconciliation has been done by First Nations and that bothered me a little until I realised... maybe the reconciliation process is kind of like... we need find out, to look at ourselves and in ourselves to see how we want to be reconciled with and once we know that well then we’ll know how to ask to be reconciled with properly.”
Arlene Proksa (Leq’á:mel First Nation)
Patricia John (Chawathil First Nation)
“...I’ve heard one thing called “to decolonize” and I wondered what do you mean? We’ve had how many generations of the colonizer but I’ve heard a simple thing that was to learn a saying in your language... or make some certain promises to myself ...[that] your steps will be [in] the direction for yourself and family, that’s decolonization... your reconciling your rights” [33:13 – 34:11]
“Where I’m trying to go is, that importance of achieving the healing amongst ourselves, like Uncle Kat said, reconciliation amongst ourselves, and in my mind, where I go with that, is I think about, you know, because the government is saying how can we reconcile with us, with the government. And there’s, you know, so many generations of failed promises and, you know the thing, the goals that the government had, Uncle Kat was talking about that you know they couldn’t get rid of us. They didn’t achieve those things that they set out to do, and yet we’re still healing, we’re still working on ourselves. And to me it’s one of the most important elements of reconciliation is our own healing as a people within ourselves, and within our community, and within our families...”[1:07:30-1:08:34]
Sandra Bonner-Pederson (Tzeachten First Nation)
“It’s like their own personal reconciliation, not that they’ve forgiven society for what society did to them, but they’re going ‘I can get through this, and I’m going to, no matter you say, I’m a survivor, and I can do it’. So to me that’s kind of a First Nation reconciliation I guess you could say, right? Those who have survived and chose not to do the terrible things that happened to them, they look the other way, so to me that’s a reconciliation in a way, with their own. Not this reconciliation word that’s been going around saying ‘yeah we’re reconciled so let’s move on’[…] I think reconciliation to me is those that have survived and are trying to piece their lives together. But when a xwelitem says to them yeah reconciliation, to them they’re like I’m not sure if I’m reconciling with you, but I’m reconciling with me.” [1:30:43-1:32:00]
Eddie Gardner (Skwah First Nation)
“So we have reconciliation that needs to take place amongst ourselves because when our lives were so disturbed and turned upside down during this dark period in our history, the relationships that we had with one another shifted and changed. Sad to say but that’s what happened. When young people had to go to residential school and were sexually abused, and all of those things. Then they become abusers. And so there’s reconciliation that needs to take place in our own communities, that’s called healing. So we need to heal. We need to heal our own relationships for reconciliation. And then we need to heal our relationships with those who caused it, and that’s the government and the churches and the RCMP. So we have to stand strong with who we are and where we come from, in order to continue the work that we need to do for reconciliation.” [00:47:40]