259 years of promises made and promises broken to Canada’s First Peoples
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Indigenous Watchdog, a federally registered non-profit, is committed to keeping the reconciliation dialogue open, honest and focused on what is happening across the country. By curating details from multiple sources – government stakeholders as well as local and national media, research reports, studies, white papers, statistics, budgets – Indigenous Watchdog will deliver relevant, current information to raise awareness on Indigenous issues through an Indigenous lens.
Where are we today? Click on any of the Status Updates below to see the current status of each: what % are Complete, Not Started, Stalled or In Progress. Explore the site for as much detail as you want. The deeper you go the more details you will find including over 2000 embedded links to take you to the original source material.
Start with clicking “Learn More” below to go directly to the Calls to Action landing page: a single page view to the status of all 94 Calls to Action with links to dive deeper into any Indigenous issue you wish to explore.
Be informed. Speak up. Take action. Only then will reconciliation happen.
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What governments say and what they do can be radically different. This section states at a macro-level what specific actions and commitments each level of government – federal, provincial and territory – has made towards reconciliation with each Indigenous group: First Nations, Metis and Inuit.
Clicking “Explore All” takes you the Government Commitments to Reconciliation landing page where you will find the Current Reality, Current Problems and additional Background Information
What have federal, provincial and territory governments committed to the 634 First Nations – off and on reserve?
What have federal, provincial and territory governments committed to the Métis communities?
What have federal, provincial and territory governments committed to the Inuit across their territories in Inuit Nunangat
Why is Indigenous “Reconciliation” necessary?
King George III issued the Royal Proclamation in 1763 – 259 years ago. The Proclamation “explicitly stated that Aboriginal title has existed and continues to exist, and that all land would be considered Aboriginal land until ceded by treaty”1. In 1764, the Treaty of Niagara, attended by over 2000 Indigenous leaders ratified the Proclamation and established a new alliance between the British and Indigenous people who used their traditional way of representing treaties – the wampum belt.
The belt consists of two rows of purple wampum beads on a white background. Three rows of white beads symbolizing peace, friendship, and respect separate the two purple rows. The two purple rows symbolize two paths or two vessels travelling down the same river. One row symbolizes the Haudenosaunee people with their law and customs, while the other row symbolizes European laws and customs. As nations move together side-by-side on the River of Life, they are to avoid overlapping or interfering with one another.
It was understood by the Haudenosaunee that the Two Row agreement would last forever, that is, “as long as the grass is green, as long as the water flows downhill, and as long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.2”
Breaking the treaty didn’t take long. The colonial government determined that in order to secure the land for future settlement and development, the Indigenous population needed to be moved onto reserves where they could be more easily controlled, marginalized and kept out of the way. The Indian Act of 18764 institutionalized Canada’s racist policies by denying to Indigenous people the basic rights that were available to every other Canadian like:
- the right to vote: granted in 1960
- the right to practice their religion: denied until 1940
- the right to speak their own languages: late 1880s to early 1960s
- permission from Indian agent to leave reserve: 1885 to 1951
- the right to wear traditional regalia: 1906-1951
- the right to organize political organizations: 1927-1951
- the right to hire a lawyer: 1927-1951
Canada’s Constitution Act, 1982 Section 35 recognizes and affirms Aboriginal title. The biggest challenge facing Indigenous peoples is the continuous refusal of the federal, provincial and territory governments to recognize and acknowledge this fact.
- “A short introduction to the Two Row Wampum”. Briar Patch.Tom Keefer. March 10, 2014
- Two Row Wampum Belt – Gä•sweñta’ image above courtesy of Onondaga Nation, N.Y.
- “21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act”. Bob Joseph. Indigenous Relations Press. 2018
About Indigenous Watchdog
Indigenus Watchdog is a federally registered non-profit created to monitor and report on critical Indigenous issues including the 94 Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. Our mission is to raise awareness and educate all Canadians on how reconciliation is advancing – or not.
And if not – why?
This space links to the “Perspectives” post for the latest “Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action Status Updates” on the Indigenous Watchdog site. “Perspectives” contains all the Indigenous Watchdog commentary on selected Indigenous issues current at the time of posting
This space links to the “Perspectives” post for the latest “Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action Status Updates” on the Indigenous Watchdog site. “Perspectives” contains all the Indigenous Watchdog commentary on selected Indigenous issues current at the time of postingSee all blog posts