“Raising awareness of and educating Canadians on the current state of reconciliation in Canada”
Beginning with the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the Treaty of Niagara, 1764 and for the next 259 years, Canada’s First People’s (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) have witnessed broken promises, treaties and agreements negotiated in good faith – “Nation-to-Nation” – but that have been systematically broken over the years. Confederation institutionalized the relationship under The Indian Act in 1876 and the “Indian” problem has been a reality ever since despite numerous attempts to alter the status quo and “promises” to address and fix the systemic barriers.
Indigenous Watchdog is a federally registered non-profit dedicated to monitoring and reporting on how reconciliation is advancing on the critical issues that are impacting the Indigenous world – including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. The TRC emphasized education as the foundation for raising awareness on what needs to happen to make true reconciliation a success. Indigenous Watchdog delivers answers to these and other questions that are easy to find, are transparent, comprehensive and real?
- What is the current status of each of the 94 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and other critical Indigenous issues?
- What have federal, provincial and territory governments committed and with what specific actions and, when available, with what budget and timelines?
- How have the designated stakeholders accountable for addressing and resolving specific Calls to Action responded? With what actions? By when?
- How have the national Indigenous advocacy organizations responded to specific Calls to Action and stakeholder commitments?
Almost seven years after the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Summary Report in June 2015, “Reconciliation” has stalled. There is limited visibility from an Indigenous lens into what is happening that will keep the numerous issues current, visible and that will hold governments, associations and institutional stakeholders accountable.
The mission of Indigenous Watchdog is to contribute to and help sustain the national conversation on reconciliation by delivering relevant quality information on Indigenous issues to educate, inform and ultimately transform the dialogue between Indigenous and non – Indigenous Canadians. The initial focus is primarily on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.
Ultimately, the main question asked is: “Is Reconciliation advancing or not, and if not – why?“
By curating and delivering substantive, quality information, Indigenous Watchdog will advance reconciliation with all stakeholder groups through a commitment to transparency, accuracy and independence.
About the Indigenous Watchdog Logo
The logo is based on a Medicine Wheel circle that represents the balance of all four aspects of our being – spiritual, emotional, physical and mental. In that context, reconciliation requires a balance between the four stakeholders in making reconciliation happen: First Nations, Métis, Inuit and Canada.
The Eagle is accorded the highest respect by all First Nations. The Eagle is considered the messenger of the Creator, therefore its feathers are held in high regard. Thus, the eagle feather is the link between the People and the Creator. Eagle feathers are gathered in ritual. No one has the right to take an eagle feather for her/himself, but they have to be awarded to the bearer.
Veterans Affairs Canada
Inukshuk is a figure made of piled stones or boulders constructed to communicate with humans throughout the Arctic. Traditionally constructed by the Inuit, inukshuk are integral to Inuit culture and are often intertwined with representations of Canada and the North. A red inukshuk is found on the flag of Nunavut. In Inuktitut, the term inukshuk means “to act in the capacity of a human.” It is an extension of the word inuk meaning “a human being.” Inukshuk have been found close to archaeological sites dating from 2400 to 1800 BCE in the Mingo Lake region of southwest Baffin Island.
The Métis flag or flag of the Métis Nation features a white infinity sign on a blue background. The infinity symbol represents the mixing of two distinct cultures, European and First Nations, to create a unique and distinct culture, that of the Métis (which means “to mix” in Latin). The infinity symbol, which refers to a quantity without end, in this situation symbolizes the faith that the Métis culture will exist forever.
Records show that the Métis Flag was first used by Métis resistance fighters in the lead up to the Battle of Seven Oaks, a violent, one day confrontation in 1816, which saw the rival fur traders the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company pitted against each other.
Indigenous Corporate training
The maple leaf became the central national symbol with the introduction of the Canadian flag in 1965, which uses a highly stylized eleven-pointed maple leaf, referring to a generic maple leaf representing the ten species of maple tree native to Canada – at least one of these species grows natively in every province.
Board of Directors
Douglas Sinclair, Publisher Indigenous Watchdog
Douglas Sinclair is a member of the Peguis First Nation of Manitoba and was a member of the Board of Directors for Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) for over 15 years including serving a three year term as President when NCFST negotiated their Child Welfare mandate with the provincial government. In addition, he was also the Toronto coordinator for the Environics Research Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study and led a team of researchers who conducted interviews with First Nations, Métis and Inuit participants to collect detailed responses to their experiences within an urban context.
Douglas launched the initial Indigenous Watchdog website at the end of February, 2020 after three years of development.
Teresa Edwards, Legacy of Hope Foundation
Executive Director and In-House Legal Counsel
Teresa Edwards is a member of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation in Quebec. Her ceremonial name is Young Fire Woman, a name that she strives to fulfill through her work as an International Human Rights Lawyer. Teresa is a mother to three amazing souls – Ashley, Dakota, and Derek, and the grandmother (Giju) to Alivia and Avery, who all inspire her to work towards bringing equity to Indigenous Peoples by improving socio-economic conditions and their overall well-being. For over 30 years, she has been a strong advocate for Indigenous Peoples by championing changes in programs, policy, and legislation from within government and while working with National Indigenous Organizations such as the Assembly of First Nations, Native Women’s Association of Canada, and from within her own legal practice.
Teresa has been the Executive Director and In-House Legal Counsel for the Legacy of Hope Foundation (LHF) for 5 years. The LHF is a national Indigenous-led charitable organization founded in 2000 to educate and raise awareness about the history and existing intergenerational impacts from the Residential and Day School System, Sixties Scoop, and other colonial acts of oppression in order to foster Reconciliation in Canada.
Luanne Whitecrow, Canadian Association of Aboriginal Business
Director of Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) Program
Luanne Whitecrow is an Ojibway from the Seine River First Nation, Ontario. She graduated from the Toronto School of Business with diplomas in Micro Computer Business Applications, Network and Communications. With over 10 years’ experience working within the Indigenous community in the Greater Toronto Area, where she worked at the Aboriginal Business Resource Centre in marketing and promotion for the Toronto Aboriginal Business Association, its annual TABA Awards, and the Small Business Certificate Program. She played a key role in providing networking and guided support to Aboriginal artists in multiple disciplines. Now in her 10th year at the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, she is helping to guide organizations build sustainable strategy in Indigenous Relations through the Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) program.
Kenn Richard, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto
Director, Indigenous Spirit Fund
Both sides of Kenn Richard’s family come from the original Métis and Francophone settlements along the Red and the Assiniboine River in Manitoba. Kenn is the Founder, and until recently was Executive Director, of Native Child and Family Services of Toronto. He is now the Director of the Indigenous Spirit Fund. He holds a Masters in Social Work, University of Manitoba, and has been practicing social work, principally within Aboriginal child welfare, for over 40 years.
Kenn is the recipient of multiple awards including the Toronto Civic Award of Merit, The Aboriginal Affairs Award, The Chief of Police Community Award, and the Salute to the City Award for outstanding civic contribution, the Diamond Jubilee Medal, Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award, and most recently the Meritorious Service Cross, one of the highest civilian honors awarded Canadians, for his achievements for his actions toward contributing to the quality of Canadian life.
Indigenous Watchdog awarded funds from Community Foundations of Canada’s Investment Readiness Program funded by the Government of Canada.
Toronto, Ontario – March 1, 2021 – As part of Community Foundations of Canada IRP Program, Indigenous Watchdog has received funds to advance to Phase 2 of its evolution into a dynamic, searchable website where any user can access information on critical issues impacting Indigenous lives.
Our investments should aim to alleviate the systemic factors perpetuating inequality, with an eye to a sustainable and inclusive economy for all Canadians.”
Andrew Churchill, CEO of Community Foundations of Canada
The over-all mission of Indigenous Watchdog is to contribute to and help sustain the national conversation on reconciliation by delivering relevant quality information on Indigenous issues to educate, inform and ultimately transform the dialogue between Indigenous and non – Indigenous Canadians. The initial focus is primarily on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. Ultimately, the main question asked is: “Is Reconciliation” advancing or not, and if not – why?
The IRP funding will allow Indigenous Watchdog to expand the amount of information currently on the site by approximately 75% and include new sections on:
- Commitments to Reconciliation
- Much greater details on Child Welfare, Education, Language and Culture, Health and Justice
- Treaties and Land Claims
- Housing and Homelessness
- Urban Commitments to Reconciliation
Social Purpose Organizations (SPOs) are working on a range of issues and their work is helping to advance all 17 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Now more than ever, these goals are central in ensuring economic development happens in concert with thoughtful social action.
Thank-you to Community Foundations Canada and their partner Toronto Foundation for selecting Indigenous Watchdog to participate in the IRP Program.
The Circle of Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada transforms philanthropy and contributes to positive change between Philanthropy and Indigenous communities by creating spaces of learning, innovation, relationship-building, co-creation, and activation. The Circle works alongside Indigenous-led organizations, Indigenous informed organizations, organizations with Indigenous beneficiaries, our members and philanthropic signatories of The Declaration of Action to encourage individuals and organizations to learn, acknowledge, and understand more about reconciliation and the decolonization of wealth.
“Indigenous Watchdog acknowledges the support of the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia”
REFBC makes direct investments in projects and funds that have a financial return as well as social or environmental benefits. These proactive investments support projects that align with our interests in sustainable land use, the built environment, food lands, fresh water, and real estate.
Peguis Settlement Trust
Our goal is to help improve the quality of life for our Community members both on and off-reserve by making strategic investments of the resources entrusted to us, we can support the social and economic development of our Community.
Contact Indigenous Watchdog
Explore Calls to Action
This link will begin your journey into the heart of Reconciliation: What is working? What is not? What are the Problems and what are the Solutions? Who is doing what? By when? With what budget? And with what targeted outcomes?