Whether you’re interested in politics (the drama, the intrigue!), looking for ways to dismantle settler-colonial-hetero-patriarchy, or just confused about what politicians ACTUALLY do all day, Policy Forecast is here for you!
With each season, CRE’s Centre for Indigenous Policy and Research will bring you a new edition of Policy Forecast recapping everything you need to know about what’s going on in Canadian policy when it comes to Indigenous rights, community, and reconciliation.
You can find the below contacts for support:
- MMIWG2S+ Support Line 1-844-413-6649
- Residential School Survivors & Families Support Line 1-800-721-0066
- Hope for Wellness Support 1-855-242-3310 or www.hopeforwellness.ca
Highlights from this issue
- Papal Apology
- Ocean Protection
- Emancipation Day
Truth and Reconciliation
> NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR RECONCILIATION: On June 22, Bill C-29 (the National Council for Reconciliation Act)( was introduced in Parliament by Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. The bill responds to Call to Action 53 and 54 of the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action. Call to Action 53 calls for the creation of this council, while Call to Action 54 calls for funding for the council. If passed, the newly created Council would independently monitor, evaluate and report on reconciliation efforts and ensure accountability in the process of reconciliation.
> PAPAL APOLOGY: At the end of July, the Pope visited Canada, making stops in Edmonton, Iqaluit and Quebec City. While visiting the former site of Ermineskin Residential School in Treaty 6 territory, the Pope delivered an apology to residential school survivors, asking for forgiveness for the abuses committed by the Roman Catholic church in the Residential School System. Though the Canadian government set aside $30M to support survivors attending the papal visit, the funds and information on them were difficult to access. Responses to the apology have been mixed, with many continuing to call on the pope to go further by rescinding the Doctrine of Discovery.
The Doctrine of Discovery originated in the 1400s from a series of decrees from the Pope, which said that lands could be taken by Christian “explorers” if Christians didn’t live there. The doctrine provided a holy justification for colonization of what is now called Canada and is understood to be a key precursor to the Indian Act and the Residential School System. Read more here about the Doctrine and what would happen if it was revoked.
> FIRST NATIONS CHILD WELFARE AGREEMENT: In June, the Assembly of First Nations and the federal government reached an agreement on a $20B settlement for Indigenous children and youth harmed by Canada’s discriminatory child welfare system. The $20B will be made available to those taken from their homes, those affected by the narrow definition of Jordan’s Principle, those who were not given proper public services, and caregivers of children taken from their homes.
> GRASSY NARROWS: In June, Grassy Narrows community members stood outside of Ontario’s provincial legislature, and later an Indigenous Services Canada office, to demand compensation for the mercury poisoning their community has suffered. Aside from compensation, they are asking for an end to mining and logging on their territories, and for exploratory permits to stop being issued without their consent. The community members were joined by roughly 2000 supporters.
> MOOSE MONITORING: An Anishinaabe-led moose population survey has started in Ontario and Quebec, focused on La Verendyre Wildlife Reserve. Last year, moose hunting in the area was paused, and Algonquin community members in the area are hoping to use their survey to create a report which will extend the moratorium (the pause). Pikwakanagan Elder Jerry Lavalley said that he would “like to see the moose reach a state where it would provide what it always did before for the Algonquins.”
> MÉTIS IN THE MINT: A new silver collectible coin designed by Métis artist Jennine Krauchi was unveiled this month. Part of a series featuring Indigenous artists, the coin includes writing in Michif, as well as Métis beadwork.
This is the story of us as Métis and the struggles we went through and, actually the happy times tooJennine Krauchi on the coin she designed
> INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE WORLD’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLES: August 9 was International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Originally marked in 1994, the day is meant to promote and spread information about the rights of Indigenous peoples globally. This year’s theme was the role of Indigenous women in preserving and transmitting traditional knowledge. Check out this post from CRE highlighting some international Indigenous organizations!
> EMANCIPATION DAY DECLARATION: Emancipation Day (August 1) marks the anniversary of the British Parliament abolishing slavery within its empire in 1834. Aligning with this year’s Emancipation Day, the Michaëlle Jean Foundation hosted the National Black Canadians Summit as an opportunity for African Nova Scotians to celebrate their heritage, attend workshops and share stories. Held at the Halifax Convention Centre, the event ended with a historic declaration demanding equality for Black Canadians. The declaration emerged from the conversations, panels, and workshops at the summit, and is still being finalized before wider publication.
From strength to strength, we have persisted, created, remembered and marched forward. We are here.Lynn Jones, Black Nova Scotian elder
Some of the calls to action in the declaration include:
- For the federal government to adopt a framework for reparations toward Indigenous people and people of African descent.
- More accountability and recognition of harm from police and law enforcement.
At Parliament Hill
> OCEANS PROTECTION PLAN: PM Trudeau announced a $2B commitment over 9 years to renew Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, which was originally launched in 2016. This will go toward funding 15 new ocean protection initiatives – including initiatives to protect marine ecosystems and for partnerships with Indigenous and coastal communities to incorporate their feedback into marine safety and ecosystem protection efforts.
> SENATE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS: The Senate Committee on Human rights has released a new report saying that the federal government should compensate all who were subjected to forced and coerced sterilization. Echoing the voices of many Indigenous women and advocates, the report found that non-consensual sterilization continues to happen today, and disproportionately affects Indigenous, Black and racialized women, and people with disabilities. The report also calls for a law criminalizing this practice, as well as a formal apology and an education campaign.
> GREEN PARTY UPDATES: Sources say that Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May is preparing a pitch to reclaim leadership of the Green Party of Canada. May led the party from 2006 to 2019 and is said to be considering returning to the position so that the party has a leader with a seat in the House of Commons.
- TWO-SPIRIT ZINE: This zine by Marie Lang focuses on research they completed on young, two-spirit, queer and trans-Indigenous folks in Toronto use the term two-spirit and the relationship between the term and other terms used to describe gender and sexuality.
- ZAAGI’DIWIN INAKINOGEWIN – LOVE LAW: Check out this policy note by Fallon Simard published by Yellowhead Institute on protecting two-spirit, non-binary and trans-Indigenous peoples.
- MOONSHOT: Moonshot is a collection of comics by and about Indigenous peoples in Canada and the United States, featuring traditional and futuristic stories.
- 2 CREES IN A POD: This podcast focuses on Indigenous storytelling and amplifying Indigenous voices, originally created to serve as a resource for social work students.
- BUFFYPOD: Singer, songwriter and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie is the subject of a new CBC podcast hosted by Mohawk and Tuscarora writer Falen Johnson. Listen to it here!
What did you think of this issue of CRE’s Policy Forecast? Send your feedback, ideas for future topics, and/or podcast suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.