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Reflecting on the Year: Truth Before Reconciliation

Tansi Nîtôtemtik,


This is our last week posting for the Reconcili-ACTION blog, and today, I’m reflecting on the experience I’ve had this year.


Since September, I have had the opportunity to be part of this blog, to work alongside my amazing colleagues, learn new things each week, and share my thoughts with each reader who tunes in. I’m very grateful to have had this opportunity. It has helped me grow both personally and professionally.



With a theme like Reconcili-Action, it hasn’t always been easy. With so many difficult truths to reconcile, it can be hard not to feel overwhelmed, helpless, or defeated. It’s easy to feel like there’s nothing you can do, or there’s no point in trying because reconciliation feels too far away. But these feelings shouldn’t be allowed to win out.


There are so many people fighting hard for reconciliation, for a better future for this country and for everyone who now calls it home. For all of us now, and for all those who will come after, we have to remember that even the small actions make a difference.


We’ve discussed a lot of very heavy issues on the blog this year, with the intention of learning, acknowledging, and coming to terms with the truths of Canada's past and present. We did this because truth has to come before reconciliation.


I’ve had the opportunity to research and write about many topics, some of which I knew more about at the beginning than others.


In the fall, some of these topics included the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action regarding the Canadian health care system, the teaching of Indigenous content in Alberta schools, repatriation of Indigenous cultural artifacts, enfranchisement, Indigenous identity and self-identification, and the scrip system.


This winter, some topics included Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Sisters in Spirit, deficit discourse, sources of Indigenous law, implementation agreements, the revitalization of Indigenous legal traditions, the Crown's duty to consult, and environmental racism.


All of the topics we discussed on the blog this year relate to truth and reconciliation in their own, and overlapping, ways. But one thing remains the same throughout: these topics must be discussed, and reflected upon, and talked about, because they share different truths, and reconciliation can’t take place if the truth is not acknowledged.


It isn’t ideal that many of the hard truths about Canada’s past and continuing relationships with Indigenous peoples are unknown to many Canadians, purposely excluded from general education, and ignored by Canadian governments. The lack of transparency means that many people don’t even know there is a problem, or are unaware of the true depth of the problem.


The lack of transparency from the Canadian Government is one reason that sharing these stories and discussing these topics is so important. Not everyone gets the chance to learn about these issues from professors, to have access to academic resources, or to be taught how to interpret the unnecessarily complicated “legalese” that important decisions and legislation are often riddled with.


The blog was one way for us to share what we learn, and to help make the truth more easily accessible for everyone. This is especially important because I know that everyone has a part to play in reconciliation. Everyone’s actions are valuable, and everyone has wisdom and knowledge to contribute. It only makes sense that everyone should be able to learn about these important topics, and about their role in reconciliation. To me, the blog allows people to do just that.


I have learned so much this year with the blog, and I hope you’ve enjoyed learning along with me. Despite how much work we still have to do, and how difficult it can be to learn Canada’s hard truths, these truths are necessary if we want to seriously walk the continuous path that is reconciliation. It’s important to remember that there’s always room to learn and grow, that every action taken to advance reconciliation has value and meaning, and that giving up is not an option.


If we all do what we can for reconciliation, Canada will be a better and stronger place for all of us.


I appreciate everyone who has taken time out of their day to read the blog this year, whether you tuned in once or twice, or every week. The simple action of reading and learning these truths is an important step on the path of reconciliation. I’m committed to continuous learning, and I hope you are too.


Thank you for reading.


Signing off,

Siobhan

Reconcili-ACTION YEG


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