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The First One Hundred Days



Prince Charles (Now King Charles III) participates in a Cree naming ceremony with elder Gordon Oakes (left) and Chief Perry Bellegarde in April 2001. His Cree name is Kisikawpisim Kamiyowahpahmikoot: The sun watches over him in a good way. (CBC News: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/the-special-relationship-of-native-peoples-and-the-crown-1.1189032)

Dear King Charles III,


This month marks the beginning of your reign, one which I hope will be just as momentous as your dear mama’s. The good news for the rest of us is that we will not be wondering for long just who exactly is King Charles III, as everything we need to know will be learned in your first 100 days.


The first one hundred days of a leader’s reign are critical. In fact, there is nothing inherently more important than the first 100 days as it is the indication of your style and priorities.[1] It is the key time to show the world who you are. Right now, the world is waiting- full of expectation and apprehension. How will you change the monarchy? Will the monarchy last? Everything hangs on the first 100 days.


This idea dates back to 1933, during the inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt. When Roosevelt began his presidency, his country was in the grips of a major depression- a trying time for even a well-seasoned leader. But in his first 100 days, Roosevelt brought relief for “business, farms and the unemployed, and created the Tennessee Valley Authority to control floods and produce electricity.” [2] His decisive action continues to this day to set the standard for leaders. So dear King Charles III, I write this blog to you today, suggesting that while the first 100-day milestone is arbitrary, it is nonetheless important, and I have a suggested action plan that will help define your future reign.


You have, for the last seven years, been committed to helping Canada achieve the TRC action plans, donating over two million dollars to help fund Indigenous-specific initiatives in Canada.[3] You remarked to the world at the Commonwealth meeting this past June that the world should learn from Canada’s reconciliation efforts.[4] But, what if the world was to learn from you? The passing of your mother marks the end of a colonial empire that committed unthinkable harms to Indigenous people around the world. During your mother’s reign, oppressive colonial policies included residential schools, the 60’s Scoop, forced relocation and sterilization all occurred.[5] But today, a new reign has begun.


Your first 100 days can mark the beginning of a new monarchy- one committed to a better relationship through the recognition of your families’ direct ties to the pains of Indigenous people throughout the Commonwealth. You must recognize that the role of the monarch is not one that is just figurative for Indigenous people. The Crown has an essential role in the everyday life of Indigenous people today. Every time a land claim or a battle over treaty rights goes to Court, we have to talk about the honour of the Crown, the relationship with the Crown, the spirit of the treaty and how that is carried out. The Monarchy needs to take responsibility not only for what happened, but what should happen in the future. I advise that in your 100 days, you should begin with an address to the Commonwealth nations rescinding the doctrine of discovery.


You should then make your first official overseas visit to a Commonwealth nation to address reconciliation. Based on your address to the Commonwealth earlier this year, I suggest you visit Canada to show your commitment to reconciliation by responding directly to Call to Action 45 by re-affirming the nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous people and the Crown. Your speech should also recognize and affirm the sanctity of the treaties and apologize for the monarchy’s role in colonialization and policies that followed. [6] You should mark this speech by repatriating a piece of cultural artwork as a symbol of your commitment to reconciliation. Your words will be more than figurative, they will signal to Canadian leaders and decision makers that the TRC Calls to Action are important and you are setting the “stage for a new relationship with Indigenous people around the world.”[7]


As the new Monarch, you have the amazing ability to change the future. Through your role as King, with a direct ear not only to our Prime Minister but those around the world, you can use your leadership to direct Canada to listen to Indigenous people, to deliver on promises made and encourage today’s decision-makers to respect and honour the sacred and legal roles Indigenous people play around the world.


Sincerely,

ReconciliACTION YEG


[1] Kelly Jean Kelly, “What is so special about a US presidents first 100 days?” (29 April 2021), online: VOA News <https://www.voanews.com/a/usa_what-so-special-about-us-presidents-first-100-days/6205204.html>. [2] Michael Skapinker, “Why are a leader’s first hundred days so important” (3 April 2022), online: Financial Times <https://www.ft.com/content/d54caaa4-5f2d-4be9-b247-8e7befb6a17c>. [3] Gareth Everett, “Prince Charles charities work to undo past wrongs against Indigenous people through reconciliation” (27 June 2017), online: Globe and Mail <https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canada-150/prince-charles-canada-150-charity-indigenous/article35476084/>. [4] Laura Osman, “Prince Charles: Commonwealth can learn from Canada’s reconciliation efforts” (24 June 2022) online: CBC News https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/commonwealth-indigenous-reconcilliation-1.6500076#:~:text=Politics-,Commonwealth%20countries%20could%20learn%20from%20Canada%27s%20reconciliation%20efforts%2C%20Prince%20Charles,to%20terms%20with%20their%20past. [5] The Canadian Press, “New monarch has some Indigenous leaders concerned about progress on reconciliation” (14 Sept 2022), online: CBC News https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/new-monarch-has-some-indigenous-leaders-concerned-about-progress-on-reconciliation-1.6582609 [6] Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, (29 March 2016), act. 45 online: <Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action | Canadian Religious Conference (crc-canada.org)>. [7] Angela Amato, “Some Indigenous leaders are concerned about reconciliation with the new monarch” (14 Sept 2022), online: CTV News https://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/canada/some-indigenous-leaders-concerned-about-reconciliation-with-new-monarch-1.6067704

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