If it means friendly relations or equal access, a new word is needed, leaders say
Reconciliation has emerged as a buzzword in Canada over the last three years. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even proclaimed a national day of reconciliation in 2018. He’s also pushed his Indigenous rights recognition framework and stirred debate on ending or “decolonizing” the 1876 Indian Act, which gave Ottawa control over most aspects of Indigenous life, from health and education to land.
However, much like the relationship it aims to fix, there is uncertainty about the concept of reconciliation among some Indigenous people in Canada.
Sandlanee Gid, her traditional name, is an instructor of Reconciliation Studies through the University of British Columbia and the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society. She struggles with the very meaning of the word.
“Reconciliation means that you had a good relationship to begin with and then you’re reconciling the relationship, in particular with the Canadian government,” she said. “But the relationship has never been good,” Sandlanee Gid said from her home in Haida Gwaii.
She pointed to the more than 250 Canadian court cases that Indigenous people have won — something lawyer and author Bill Gallagher has outlined in his book Resource Reckoning to be released later this year.
She also said many Indigenous people don’t have access to basic human rights like clean drinking water, safety and education, which other Canadians enjoy, arguing this is evidence that there is not a positive relationship to this day.
For the rest of this article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/reconciliation-doesn-t-exist-yet-say-indigenous-leaders-1.4963594