February 21, 2024

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Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples will require public education and institutional change

Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples will require public education and institutional change

Montreal – Public education and sustained institutional change are required to overcome the continued troubled relationship between Indigenous people and other Canadians. Those who lead Canada’s public institutions must spearhead the reconciliation effort, says a new paper from the Institute for Research on Public Policy.

David Newhouse (chair of the Department of Indigenous Studies, Trent University) demonstrates how, as a result of achievements since the 1970s (including through the courts), reconciliation with Indigenous peoples has become a Canadian project. To make concrete progress, the policy community will need to become more knowledgeable about Indigenous issues.  Education should be provided to public servants on the history of Indigenous peoples, including the legacy of residential schools.

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s priorities mark a change in tone and signal a willingness to reboot the relationship in hopes of getting it right this time. We should be optimistic, but we must also remember that huge challenges lie ahead,” says Newhouse, a member of the Onondaga Nation.

According to him, “all areas of public policy need to explicitly consider Indigenous aspirations and needs.”  Indigenous peoples expect to be involved, and in some cases have a legal right to be involved, in policy actions that affect them – from resource development to federal-provincial-territorial relationships, child care policy, health policy and education.

Newhouse concludes that “reconciliation is a long game, and the effort will have to be sustained over generations.”

Indigenous Peoples, Canada and the Possibility of Reconciliation, by David Newhouse, can be downloaded from the Institute’s website (irpp.org).

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MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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