Ernie Crey is the elected Chief of the Cheam First Nation. He is also an advisor to the Stó:lō Tribal Council and co-authored the book Stolen from Our Embrace. He shares many articles on social media pertinent to the conversation on reconciliation, and is well known for his support of the Trans Mountain pipeline
Stó:lō Voices from Social Media
Source: Crey, E. [Cheyom1]. (2017, June 21). [Tweet] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/Cheyom1/status/877748808863555584
“Indigenous lands in Canada added to Google Maps an ‘essential’ step in reconciliation http://cp24.to/QOP44eh [Link to article titled Indigenous lands in Canada added to Google Maps an ‘essential’ step in reconciliation]”
Non-Stó:lō Voices from Social Media
Organizer with the Onaman Collective, working towards resurgence of language and land based practices. She describes herself as “a community based artist, environmentalist and advocate for the lands, waters and Indigenous peoples”. In her discussion of reconciliation she almost always brings it back to the land, saying that reconciliation is not possible without the return of land. She places importance on protecting the land and water and her artwork focuses on these themes. She also talks about language learning and the injustices in Canada’s child services.
Source: Belcourt, C. (2016, Nov) The Revolution has Begun/Published by Onaman Collective [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqBXDPzyLm0
“Canada represents the largest land heist, the largest land theft in the history of the world.” (9:29-9:35)
“Europeans came for resources. Can’t call them settlers or explorers, they were exploiters. None of that has changed. Land and resources central reason for dispossession.” [no time stamp given]
“Reconciliation for me then, is not limited to an idea of us all getting along as we kill this planet together. Reconciliation must begin with the animals and the waters. It must begin with us, as human beings, asking for forgiveness and deciding together that we will set a new course based on sharing. So that all living beings can be healthy and thrive.” (22:21-22:49)
Source: Belcourt, C. [christibelcourt]. (2019, Feb 18) [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/christibelcourt/status/1097499015279767555
“I will always say land first, reconciliation after.”
Source: Belcourt, C. [christibelcourt]. (2018, Sept 15). [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/christibelcourt/status/1041171447719374853
“My people are landless on the lands of my ancestors. And you wonder why I’m not playing? No reconciliation without return of stolen land first.”
Source: Belcourt, C. [christibelcourt]. (2017, Sept 21). [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/christibelcourt/status/910896730136305664
“I'm often asked what can Canadians do towards reconciliation? Land. Return land. Return vast territories.”
“I don’t actually even know if reconciliation at this point is even possible, and the reason why I say that is because we’re living in this country that is 100% stolen land...the health and wellbeing of our peoples and our nation's is dependent on our connection to land... We’re talking about reconciliation all over the place, but nobody's saying return the land. What I am seeing is the results of the residential schools, the intergenerational effects and all the stuff we see happening in our communities, the extreme poverty. It all has to do with the dispossession of our lands.” (3:46 - 4:49)
Source: Red Man Laughing - Reflections On Reconciliation: Christi Belcourt [Audio blog interview]. (2016, March 1). Retrieved from https://www.redmanlaughing.com/listen/2016/3/red-man-laughing-reflections-on-reconciliation-christi-belcourt
Elliot is a Tuscarora writer and editor who has won a number of awards and recently published her first book, A Mind Spread Out on the Ground. She lives in Brantford, Ontario. Her writing and social media activity brings to light ongoing oppression, and is critical of reconciliation.
Source: Elliot, A. [wordsandguitar] (2019, Jan 5). [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/WordsandGuitar/status/1081810988066836486
“How can Canada legally justify enforcing an injunction on unceded lands? The same time they're talking about reconciliation and UNDRIP, they're plotting to use state violence against Indigenous people to force a pipeline through. Colonization never ended. Genocide never stopped.”
An Anishinaabe comedian, writer, media creator and influencer, McMahon is a prominent voice on social media. He has done 3 National comedy specials, records regular podcasts, is building an Indigenous media platform called Indian and Cowboy, and building Makoons Media Group. He makes a lot of criticisms of reconciliation as it is understood in the mainstream, and places emphasis on land.
Source: Red Man Laughing - Land [Audio blog interview]. (2016, July 25). Retrieved from https://www.redmanlaughing.com/listen/2016/7/red-man-laughing-land
“We need to stop going to court case by case and sit down and have full constitutional talks to look at what these treaty tables might look like today. In order to really share the wealth and the benefit of the land and the resources therein, we need to come to an agreement of what nation-to-nation actually means... Land should be at the core of every conversation going on about reconciliation in Canada today, if it’s not, you’re bullshitting yourself. Full stop. Period.” (22:09-22:19)
Source: McMahon, R. [RMComedy] (2017, May 10). [Tweet] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/RMComedy/status/862464957753032705
“Why are Canadians and the emerging Reconciliation Industry so afraid to talk about returning land to Indigenous Peoples? #ReconciliationTable”
Source: McMahon, R. [RMComedy] (2018, May 25). [Tweet] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/RMComedy/status/1000052075714240512
“Hello Reconciliation Hype Train: do your land acknowledgements include the waters and shores that Canadian towns/cities are built on?”
Source: McMahon, R. [RMComedy] (2016, March 31). [Tweet] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/RMComedy/status/715568797739040770
“Until Canadians come to realization LAND is fundamental to #reconciliation, their work on reconciliation is a White feelings support group.”
Source: Vowel, C. [apihtawikosisan] (2017, March 14). [Tweet] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/apihtawikosisan/status/841548746605379584
“So far "reconciliation" hasn't even breathed the phrase "land redistribution". #canada150...”
Weaver, Thohahente Kim
Source: Weaver, T. K. [kimpweaver] (2019, Feb 14). [Tweet] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/kimpweaver/status/1096251155351588865
“Reconciliation means returning our lands, restitution for cultural damage and stolen resources. Return of the stolen Indian trust funds. Naming streets after us or doing a land acknowledgement at church is neo liberal tokenism.”
Source: Media Indigena [mediaINDIGENA] (2011, Sept 19). [Tweet] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/mediaINDIGENA/status/115980532067729410
“Reconciliation = the day when #FirstNations who once controlled 100% of their lands do a bit better than the under-1% they control now?”
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.
“The problem that we’re dealing with and all the problems we’re dealing with in native communities in terms of lateral violence, the poverty, all the kinds of things we are dealing with in all of the communities across Canada have to do with a central fact, and that central fact is that our land was stolen. It may seem simplified to some people to say it that way but every native in the room with say, “Yes, that’s the central problem.” But in reality, that is the problem we are dealing with because it has manifestations and it’s reflected in almost every aspect of Indigenous existence, the fact that we are disconnected from our land. When we talk about colonization and decolonization, a lot of times think about it in terms of treaties that weren’t honoured, they think about it in terms of residential schooling, they think about it in terms of people being left out of the economic development of the country - all kinds of things that went on in the history of this country. And those are all absolutely true; those are things that happened, those are things that shaped the relationship between natives and non-native people. But what I mean when I say I want to take it up a level, is to look at an abstract somewhat and you understand, or have us understand, and talk about, and think about as we leave here, what is the root impact of that on an individual and a collectively of people, nations of Indigenous people and individual native people, what is the net impact of that? It’s an alienation, a separation, a disconnection. So this connection is really what colonization is. This connection is that sense of being disconnected from the land, disconnected from ourselves, and disconnected from our culture...” (4:15 – 8:00)
Contemporary non-Stó:lō Indigenous Voices From a Scholarly Sources
Source: Simpson, Audra. “Reconciliation and its Discontents: Settler Governance in an Age of Sorrow.” Public Lecture. University of Saskatchewan, March 22nd, 2016. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGl9HkzQsGg.
Dr. Audra Simpson is a Mohawk scholar and a professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. In this public lecture Dr. Simpson discusses contention surrounding the discourse of reconciliation within Canada and the United States. Simpson highlights the idea of the spectacular, which is a visual imprint embedded within the media that allows for the optics of reconciliation and hope to flourish. This however is problematic for Simpson, as these visual representations of reconciliation are not consistent with reality. For Dr. Simpson, reconciliation as currently playing out is a contractual agreement that serves the interest of the Canadian government and settlers, as they continue to have control over the law and land. Therefore, reconciliation is a form of justice that places a (mainly monetary) value on pain and dispossession, which is no better than colonization.
“The disbursement here is of a fund of a sort, funds that are to be palliative through the prefigured indices of sympathy. A sympathy that forms a semblance of a listening state, a caring state... [a state] that imagines your pain... Will the testimonial and therapeutic model, the voyeuristic model of governance restore a body to its former state? Will it remove the scars and wounds and ongoing suffering that mark Indigenous bodies and communities today? More crucially perhaps, or at least as significantly, will land be given back? And can bodies be given back and can restored to their former state? Is that something that can actually be reconciled - a stolen body, a stolen youth, the theft of land?”
(48:16 - 49:19)
This article discusses the 150th year celebration of the founding of the Canadian state. It suggests that Canadians use this celebration as an opportunity to reflect on the nation’s past, both accomplishments and failures. Within this article six prominent Indigenous scholars offer their opinion on what a “reconciled Canada” would entail.
Bob Kayseas: Professor of business and associate vice-president, academic, First Nations University of Canada. Nahkawe (Salteaux), from Fishing Lake First Nation, Saskatchewan.
“In a reconciled Canada we would see companies involved in resource extraction around First Nations communities reaching out in a sincere way at the beginning of a project and actively engaging with the community about it at a higher level than happens now, even giving them an equity position. Businesses would have relationships with Indigenous businesses in the same way they have relationships with other businesses. The Canadian government would publicly show its support and champion Indigenous business deals the same as it does for other companies. At the moment, it’s as if we have to succeed in spite of everybody else. Our success should be seen as Canada’s success.”
Source: United Nations. (2008). United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved from
Adopted by the General Assembly in 2007, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples stipulate the inherent rights that Indigenous peoples have throughout the world. While not legally binding like a treaty, the Government of Canada has recognized and officially supports the declaration. Many of the articles within this declaration directly relate to reconciliation.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.
3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.” Page 10
Source: British Columbia. (2018) Draft Principles that Guide the Province of British Columbia’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples. Victoria, BC: Government of British Columbia. Retrieved from
Principle 8: “the Province of British Columbia recognizes that reconciliation and self-government require a renewed fiscal relationship, developed in collaboration with the federal government and Indigenous nations that promotes a mutually supportive climate for economic partnership and resource development.” Page 6
“The renewed fiscal relationship will also enable Indigenous peoples to have fair and ongoing access to their lands, territories, and resources to support their traditional economies and to share in the wealth generated from those lands and resources as part of the broader provincial economy.”
“A fairer scale relationship with Indigenous nations can be achieved by the Province, in concert with the federal government, through a number of mechanisms such as new tax arrangements and the negotiation of revenue-sharing agreements.” Page 6