The month of June is the National Indigenous History Month in Canada – a time to recognize the history, heritage and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples whose land we inhabit on.
In the light of the recent revelation of the death of 215 children at a former Residential School in Kamloops, the importance of understanding the history and heritage is more crucial for us all, particularly for recent first-generation immigrants. As new Canadians, we often pay less attention to the history of a place and get more intrigued with recent developments. However, for us to become well-grounded citizens of this country we must make that extra effort to learn, understand and honor the history of the land and how the nation came to being.
The Immigrant Life brings you a treasure of resources that you can access to educate yourself better on the history of Canada, the injustices, and consequences. It is our hope that these resources will provide you a better sense of the past and help make better judgement.
👉🏻Deep dive into Indigenous Learning Series offered by the Government of Canada. Under the themes of Recognition, Respect, Relationships and Reconciliation, the Indigenous Learning Series provides access to resources, courses, workshops and events on the history, heritage, cultures, rights and perspectives of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples.
👉🏻Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report http://www.trc.ca/about-us/trc-findings.html
👉🏻Enrol in University of Alberta Indigenous Canada course https://www.ualberta.ca/admissions-programs/online-courses/indigenous-canada/index.html
This course examines the historical and contemporary lives, identities, cultural expressions, rights, and goals of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Over twelve modules the course covers: the fur trade and exchange relationships, land claims and environmental impacts, legal systems and rights, Indigenous political activism, and contemporary Indigenous life, art, and its expressions. Together, these modules will provide a basic familiarity with Indigenous perspectives as well as Indigenous/non-Indigenous relations.
👉🏻Listen: If we know better, we act better. Kory Wilson, executive director of Indigenous initiatives and partnerships at BCIT, discusses truth and reconciliation after the remains of 215 children were discovered at a former residential school in B.C. BIV executive editor Hayley Woodin hosts.
👉🏻Read: Find books about the history, culture and heritage of the First Nations, Inuit and Metis and read.
👉🏻Watch: This animated documentary follows the journey of an Indigenous photographer as she travels through time. She witnesses moments in her family’s history and strengthens her connection to her Metis, Cree and Anishnaabe ancestors. This is a personal story told through the eyes of director and writer Amanda Strong. The oral and written history of her family reveals the story — we witness the impact and legacy of the railways, the slaughter of the buffalo and colonial land policies. Four Faces of the Moon contains no English language, relying on sound, image and Indigenous voice to tell the story. This multi-layered approach to storytelling may leave you with more questions than answers: it is an invitation to question your own understanding of history, legacy and the importance of knowing who you are and where you’re from.
We are at a crucial juncture of time when each one of us can work to educate, understand, respect and reconcile. This month is that time. With these and many more resources available on media, online and in-person we can help uplift indigenous voices and do our part in creating an honorable society for all.
Be a part of the dialogue. Join The Immigrant Life.
This article was written by Meena Kaini.