Our Shared Promise to the Future of Canada through the TRC’s Calls to Action

April 9th, 2018 | Sandra Sutter

All of those working within and peripheral to the Aboriginal/Indigenous/Industry/Government Relations sectors can be viewed as inhabiting this country, commonly called Canada; whether they are of Indigenous, settler, or newcomer backgrounds. Collectively, we all share a common identity, whether as Canadians or the First Peoples of Turtle Island, we have a responsibility to educate ourselves and others about our history in this country. The history of Indigenous peoples in Canada is also the shared history of our nation, and we are accountable to understanding the effects that have ensued as a result of government enforced assimilation tactics. The atrocious history of Indigenous peoples in Canada has been swept under the rug for far too long, and we are now in the midst of ‘reconciliation’.

Many will be familiar with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, others may not know much about them, while some may not have heard of the Calls to Action at all. In regards to Aboriginal/Indigenous Relations, all of us working within the sector, along with everyone working within the corporate sectors of Canada, are being called upon in Call to Action #92, to use the structure of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and implement “its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples, their lands and resources”(p.10, TRC’s Calls to Action). This proposed and advised implementation would include: practicing respectful, purposeful and transparent consultation with Indigenous peoples; provide equal opportunity of employment, training and education to Indigenous peoples; establish that Indigenous communities will benefit with long-standing economic development opportunities from Industry development; and make available educational opportunities to management and staff on the history of Indigenous peoples.

While working within the Aboriginal/Indigenous/Industry/Government relations sector, we are all very closely connected to Indigenous history, for the effects that have stemmed from Indian Residential School are extremely relevant and evident in our everyday work. The structures of the communities we work in, the relationships that we develop and foster, the connection that community members have with the land, the way in which business is conducted on reserves and in settlements, and countless other examples have been dramatically shaped by Indigenous history on Turtle Island.

As practitioners in our field of practice we must commit to continue to do our part to dismantle and replace the prejudicial, excludionary, and assimilationist institutional belief systems that were created to oppress the Indigenous peoples of Canada. OisBBy embracing the TRC’s Calls to Action, pledging to do our part, and encouraging others to do theirs we can participate in a shared effort to rebuild a Canada that is inclusive, respectful, cooperative, equal, educated, and that acknowledges our shared history in order to shape a prosperous future.

Please read the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action here and do your part in every aspect you can.

By: Holly Atjecoutay