As a settler & an ally, today I will focus on amplifying the voices of Indigenous people across this land. I am also taking every opportunity I get to learn. In that pursuit, I wanted to share with all of you some of the books I have read on this subject:
1) The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King: This is a book that's seething with justifiable anger but mixed with the author's humour & wit. I found it very enlightening to read the many different stories about the sheer injustice & cruelty visited by colonial governments on the Indigenous people of this continent. The promises made & then broken need to be remembered. Reconciliation means doing everything we can to correct those wrongs. This is a good first read if you're looking for a start to reading on this subject.
2) Indigenous Nationhood & Beyond Blood by Pamela Palmater: Indigenous Nationhood is a compilation of different blog posts by well-known lawyer, activist & academic Pamela Palmater. I actually ran into her once when I was flying to Prince Edward Island. I always appreciate all she has to say & it was my honour to meet her. In this book, the author writes a critical, fact-based, insightful & cutting with political edge commentary & analysis on Indigenous rights, Canadian politics, First Nations politics & issues such as murdered & missing Indigenous women, poverty, economics, identity & culture. Beyond Blood on the other hand looks directly at The Indian Act. She asks questions like what impact does status have on band membership codes? What limits, if any, should be placed on the right to determine citizenship? What legal, political, & cultural factors affect Indigenous identity & belonging? Both are excellent reads to understand more on this topic.
3) Up Ghost River by Edmund Metatawabin: This was one of the hardest reads amongst all the books I've read on the subject but a necessary one. It details a personal journey of Edmund Metatawabin who was sepearated from his family as a 7 year old & placed in one of Canada's worst residential schools - St. Anne's. St. Anne’s, in northern Ontario, is an institution now notorious for the range of punishments that staff & teachers inflicted on students. It is an important read that details the injustices visited by the government of Canada along with many churches upon Indigenous children. As more & more unmarked graves of children are uncovered, it is important to understand the history of this shameful chapter of Canadian history & Up Ghost River is a chilling account of one of millions who have suffered through it.
I hope these reads will illumination your understanding of what we need to do to achieve true Reconciliation in this country. Indigenous voices have been telling us what to do for decades. It's time we follow the recommendations of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission & all parties work together to decolonize the systemic discrimination that's baked within this country's economic & political structures!