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It's Time for an Apology

Tansi Nîtôtemtik,

I was truly humbled by how many people shared my story from last week. We all live extremely busy lives, but you took the time to not only read but share. I wanted to thank you because it’s an incremental step towards one of the goals of this blog. Meaningful engagement between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians is key to advancing reconciliation and we need to keep this momentum going! [1]

I am grateful to be part of this amazing team. If you haven’t met the other members and have some spare time, please do. These women inspire me by adding their passionate perspectives to the conversation.

A trending focus in the news with the passing of the Queen is what the future relationship will look like between the new King and Indigenous peoples, and whether the monarchy has a role in reconciliation. In today’s post I will be highlighting the opinions of a few Indigenous leaders.

Photo credit: NBC news

The Assembly of First Nations National Chief Roseanne Archibald is calling on the Crown to apologize for its role in the residential schools and colonization [2]. In 2008, the Prime Minister offered an apology for the government’s role in residential schools. Just a couple months ago, the Pope apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in residential schools. The question remains whether the King would be willing to acknowledge the Crown’s role and offer an apology? If so, how long before we hear those words?

Canada is a constitutional monarchy and King Charles has been proclaimed Canada’s next head of state which means he is the personal embodiment of the Crown. The relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples is strained and stained with historical injustice.

Wolastoq Grand Chief Ron Tremblay also believes “it’s time for the Monarch to take responsibility for the role they played in Canada’s history, and he is hopeful of the possibility of building a new relationship with the Crown”.[3]

Inuit leader Piita Irniq wants “the Royal Family to apologize for residential schools, the loss of language, loss of traditional beliefs, and loss of parenting skills" [4]. Irniq believes that a better relationship between Inuit and the Crown is a step towards living in peace and harmony. [5]

When I think of a leader, I think of someone who has the courage to be accountable for past offenses. My hope is for the new King to be a willing participant in the journey of reconciliation. His apology is integral in moving forward. Think about how hard it would be to work with someone who has caused an immense amount of pain, has a history of dishonesty and isn’t willing to acknowledge or apologize for their role in the destruction. His apology would not excuse past conduct, but it could help open the door to creating a stronger and healthier relationship not premised on an imbalance of power.

Relationships are challenging and complex, even at the best of times. The fact that there are still Indigenous leaders that are hopeful for a better relationship and are willing participants in honouring their agreements after everything they have survived inspires me. It may only be a symbolic relationship with the Crown, but it is a powerful one.

I am a little apprehensive of King Charles’ commitment to reconciliation. An apology is the first necessary step, but I question his dedication and devotion to the healing journey. A healthy relationship based on trust and respect requires effort. There is much work to be done.

“Heavy is the head that wears the Crown” - Shakespeare

Until next time,

Team ReconciliAction YEG

[1] Datta, Ranjan. (2019). Reconciliation in Practice: A Cross-Cultural Perspective. pg, 2

[2] “Crown needs to apologize to Indigenous peoples: Assembly of First Nations chief” (9 September 2022), online: CTV News <>.

[3] “King Charles III should take responsibility for the Crown’s role in residential schools: Grand Chief” (13 September 2022), online: Global News <>.

[4] “New monarch has some Indigenous leaders concerned about progress on reconciliation” (14 September 2022), online: CBC News <>.

[5] Ibid

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