Listen, learn, act

many hands can achieve alot

Canada Day 2021 will have a very different tone for many.

In the last few weeks, we have been shocked, saddened, and outraged by the discovery of unmarked graves at former residential school sites in B.C. and Saskatchewan, with the likelihood of more revelations to come.

Non-Indigenous Canadians are beginning to understand what First Nations people have been trying to make heard for decades. 

Together as Canadians, we have an opportunity to change this country’s legacy of systemic racism and create the relationships that are at the heart of reconciliation. We cannot change the heinous acts of the governments and institutions who came before us, but we can stand together to demand deep and meaningful change and acknowledge the injustices and atrocities.  

While there are still many reasons to be proud Canadians, there is also a time to reflect on this shameful part of our history.

It’s time to educate ourselves on how racism has impacted many different cultures on our soil, and plan for a future where equity, inclusion, understanding and justice are the values that resonate in the story telling of our nation for generations to come. 

Warrior Life by Pam Palmater: Hosted by Pam Palmater, Warrior Life focuses on decolonizing our minds, bodies, and spirits while at the same time revitalizing our cultures, traditions, laws, and governing practices.

The Indian Residential School Survivor Society: This organization has a 20-year history of providing services to school survivors. The society’s goal is to continually expand support to partner organizations and maximize access to culturally sensitive, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual care. Their 24/7 crisis support line is 1-800-721-0066.

Orange Shirt Society: This non-profit organization strives to create awareness of the individual, family, and community intergenerational impact of Indian Residential Schools though Orange Shirt Society activities.

Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre: The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Society operates nine core programs. The mission of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre is to provide structured, social-based programming for urban Aboriginal people while serving as a focal point for community functions and events. Donate here.

Ulnooweg Education Centre: The centre works to advance education in First Nations communities in Canada and around the world. Donate here.

Out of the Depths: The Experiences of Mi’kmaw Children at the Indian Residential School at Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, by Isabelle Knockwood

Indivisible: Indigenous Human Rights, edited by Joyce Green

Decolonizing Trauma Work: Indigenous Stories and Strategies, by Renee Linklater

Educational Resources
University of Alberta—Indigenous Canada Online Course: With an Indigenous viewpoint, this 12-lesson online course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations.

Millbrook Cultural & Heritage Centre: Open Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Eskasoni Cultural Journeys: Discover authentic Mi’kmaq culture along Goat Island in Eskasoni. Open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Help Lines
Indian Residential School Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310

Mi’kmaq Crisis Line: 1-855-379-2099

Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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