Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Toward Truth and Reconciliation

The final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, released yesterday, is accessible from here. That's not say I've read it, but now I know where to find it. And if you do the history of Canada, this probably isn't one you can leave to the specialists.

Like the COP21 final signings in Paris the other day, the TRC presentation seems to have been moving, heartwarming, and encouraging.  Previously disputatious parties seemed to agree that something really significant had been achieved.  There was a lot of media coverage. The prime minister was there to dispense a sunny-ways "we must and will respond fully" message.  I hope so.

But it will be all in the results, not the press conferences.

I can't shake the feeling that the healing needed over the residential schools horrors -- and indeed the way to address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women (and men!) -- won't come solely from addressing educational issues, or policing and security issues. I don't mean to minimize the importance of those, or the value of dealing with them. But the longer project has to be in enabling the emergence of strong and self-reliant indigenous nations and communities with a sound economic foundation. Surely the underlying cause is there.

That kind of progress, I think, has to come from fresh approaches to the treaty relationship. If the First Nations can shift from being one of the poorest demographics in Canada to one of the prosperous ones, it is going to come via implementation of treaties.  With that shift, I think our other problems -- and I certainly mean to include Euro-Canadian racism, paternalism, and colonialism among the problems -- could begin to be addressed.  But not otherwise.

Gotta say:  Murray Sinclair was impressive yesterday.
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