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Reconciliation must support Aboriginal peoples as they heal from the destructive legacies of colonization that have wreaked such havoc in their lives. But it must do even more. Reconciliation must inspire Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples to transform Canadian society so that our children and grandchildren can live together in dignity, peace, and prosperity on these lands we now share”.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

 

We live in an era defined by how well Canadians address the commitment to reconciliation between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people. In addition to reversing the cultural genocide that has plagued generations of Indigenous communities, the parallel challenge to address extreme economic inequality is urgent.

Much of the non-Indigenous community’s interface with Indigenous communities is through the media – which focus on stories of crisis and trauma – and rightly so. Yet the remarkable richness and depth of Aboriginal culture and achievement and the increasingly relevant resonance of the Aboriginal world-view – is lost to the majority of Canadians. The cultural apartheid the TRC identifies as so damaging to Indigenous communities has a reciprocal impact for non-Indigenous communities.

Deprived of the cultural knowledge, spaces and touchstones of Canada’s founding peoples, the ‘points-of-access’ to create positive relationships between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous communities are non-existent.

Many well-intentioned, non-Indigenous Canadians, who want to embrace reconciliation are in a virtual paralysis of inaction.

How might our everyday experience of life in our communities include positive interactions with aboriginal culture, world-views and achievements. Through this process, how can we foster a culture of appreciation, common cause and partnership that leads to a better Canada?