As graves of Indigenous children continue to be recovered across the country, we want to acknowledge the continuing harm of Canada’s historical and present day treatment of Indigenous Peoples and provide some resources and calls-to-action that our community can take to support our friends and neighbours.
Support for survivors
For anyone affected by their own experience at residential schools, or those who are triggered by the latest reports, a national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
If you haven’t yet read through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report and its 94 recommendations, that is a great place to start. Only 13 of these calls-to-action have been completed by the government and immense public pressure on the federal/provincial governments by settler Canadians will be needed to drive that number up.
For conversations about the TRC recommendations with children, please take a look at Spirit Bear’s Guide to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action. It’s a great resource using child-friendly language to help guide your discussions.
Cancel Canada Day
Idle no More is an Indigenous women led grassroots organization and they are rightly calling for a cancellation of Canada Day celebrations. Instead, use this day to reflect on how we benefit from this system that oppresses and kills Indigenous people daily, keeps them from access to clean water, healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
The Spirit Bear TRC guide linked above is a great resource to share with your kids on Canada Day to explain why the day needs to have a different focus.
Call for Indigenous-led curriculum updates
In 2018, the Ontario government abruptly ended an Indigenous-led curriculum consultation project. Since then, the government says they have added Indigenous content to the education curriculum, however, experts and advocates continue to emphasize that Indigenous leaders have been left out and the curriculum additions are not as effective as they need to be. This is another opportunity for public pressure on the Ontario government to help raise Indigenous voices.
The Toronto Public Library has a great collection of Indigenous books (for children and adults) that have been curated by the TPL’s very own Indigenous Advisory Council. One thing to consider is that not all books we read to our children should be about Indigenous harm. While acknowledging the harm of systemic discrimination and residential schools is key to truth and reconciliation, so too is celebrating and learning about the richness of Indigenous cultures and community.
Places to donate
If you are able to contribute financially, here are a few organizations that are supporting Indigenous education as well as survivors of residential school harm.