An integral part of our work for climate justice involves recognizing and respecting the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples. For Our Kids teams live, work, meet, and act in communities that exist on land taken from many Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island, whether through unfulfilled treaties or outright occupation of unceded territory. Acknowledging that First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples are the original stewards of the lands is a first step, but to challenge colonization we must move beyond land acknowledgements.
The next step is actively learning about Indigenous histories, cultures and the impacts of colonization. While also unlearning the skewed or fragmented histories about Canada we have been taught.
We encourage you to do this learning collectively, either with your family/friends, in a For Our Kids team or by creating a community group to learn with. Just as our collective actions will have a bigger impact, so will our collective learning. We'll benefit from each other's insights and ideas for action, and we'll have support as we learn more deeply about the atrocities of colonization.
Here are some ideas to begin your learning.
LEARN ABOUT THE LAND YOU'RE ON
Find out more about the Indigenous land you’re on at native-land.ca.
Could your family or community group do research and learn together about the land you're on? Could you find out more about the traditional territories, languages, treaties, laws or agreements that govern those lands? Could your For Our Kids team share learnings at regular meetings or dedicate special meeting times to focus on this learning? Follow Indigenous organizations or governments on social media?
Here are some initial questions you could explore:
- What do you appreciate about the natural and living world around you? The land? Waters? Creatures? Plants?
- What and whose territories are you on? How do Indigenous peoples refer to the place where you live, how is it pronounced?
- What languages are spoken?
- What Indigenous laws or treaties exist?
- What are Indigenous teachings on land stewardship and maintaining relationships with other-than-human beings?
- What are some things we can do to become stewards of the land?
There's also these great toolkits and terms of reference from educational organization Mikana:
You can enroll in these courses as an individual, but even better commit to taking one with your group. Set-up a group-focused discussion forum online (i.e. on Slack channel, private Facebook group, email list) or organize discussion-focused meetings.
- Home on Native Land: free10-part course on Indigenous justice in Canada and discover the myths, absurdities, and possibilities that are baked into the laws of this land. More info here.
- Indigenous Canada: offered by The University of Alberta's Faculty of Native Studies, it explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. It's about 12 weeks of study, and a 2 hours commitment per week. You can audit these course free of charge. More info here.
- Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education: offered by The University of British Columbia's Faculty of Education. It explores how Indigenous histories, perspectives, worldviews, and approaches to learning can be made part of the work we do in classrooms, organizations, communities, and our everyday experiences in ways that are thoughtful and respectful. In this course, reconciliation emphasizes changing institutional structures, practices, and policies, as well as personal and professional ideologies to create environments that are committed to strengthening our relationships with Indigenous peoples. It's a 6-week course, 2–4 hours per week. More info here.
- Aboriginal Worldviews and Education: offered by the University of Toronto's Faculty of Education, this course is intended for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal learners. The course explores indigenous ways of knowing and how they can benefit all students. Topics include historical, social, and political issues in Aboriginal education; terminology; cultural, spiritual and philosophical themes in Aboriginal worldviews; and how Aboriginal worldviews can inform professional programs and practices, including but not limited to the field of education. More info here.
Reading groups give us space to read at our own pace, and come together to reflect and discuss. Could your team organize a book club format to dive into deeper learning together? Here are some ideas of what you could read:
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Reports
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's (TRC) mandate was to inform all Canadians about what happened in residential schools. As a network of parents and guardians, it's especially important that we understand the trauma experienced by Indigenous families. Including the recent confirmation that thousands of children were buried nearby residential schools in unmarked graves. Indigenous families are in pain, still grieving and fighting to bring their children home.
You can find the PDF versions of the TRC reports here.
There's also a reading challenge you can participate in here, a pledge to read the report's 94 Calls to Action.
This video also shares the perspectives of a survivor and her daughter:
- Final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
The National Inquiry’s Final Report reveals that persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. The two volume report calls for transformative legal and social changes to resolve the crisis that has devastated Indigenous communities across the country. Find the report and more information here.
You can also watch this video about the launch of the National Action plan:
- Decolonization: A Primer
The project Reading to Decolonize offers a template to host a reading group on their reading series called "What is Decolonization: A Primer". You can contact the project here and ask for more information.