Many are taking a stand this Canada Day in support of Indigenous communities across the country.
Recent tragic discoveries at Residential Schools have shifted Canadians’ perspective on the significance of this day. This July 1st, there is a wide call to focus on mourning and community support. Many communities in Canada are calling for a day of reflection, mourning and support for Indigenous children and communities.
Firstly, the biggest way to support Indigenous communities in Canada is to educate ourselves on their history and their reality. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, now the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, is a great resource. The NCTR was created to honour the truth of the residential school experience and preserve that truth for survivors and future generations. Furthermore, they educate people and create a space to foster healing and reconciliation. The TRC published a report entitled Calls to Action in 2015. This report, for example, details specific actions to “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation”, making it easy and clear to understand what steps to take and policies to implement.
Secondly, many are taking to the streets as a show of solidarity. A peaceful demonstration has served many causes as a powerful show of unity and support. It has also been a powerful maker of change. The colour orange will also represent that solidarity and unity.
Third, you can donate directly to the NCTR or to one of the funds listed on their website:
- Na-mi-quai-ni-mak (I remember them) community support fund: support small community-based projects that further healing and remembrance related to residential schools in Canada.
- Truth and Reconciliation Week fund: support programming created by Indigenous storytellers for Grades 5-12 students in Canada, including the Every Child Matters: Reconciliation through Education project.
- Imagine a Canada: support a 2021-2022 program asking Canadian youth from K-G12 and CÉGEP to envision a Canada reconciled through an art piece, essay or other representation.
Support Indigenous businesses
Finally, you can shop products made by Indigenous communities to support them economically. Supporting Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs helps them enter a space they might have been unable to enter before. JP Gladu, President and CEO of the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business, calls this Economic Reconciliation. You can find Indigenous businesses to support at the links below (most provided by the CCAB):
- CCAB Membership Directory
- Beyond Buckskin
- Indig Inc.
- Government of Canada’s Indigenous Business Directory
- Ahki – Indigenous Business Directories
- Shop First Nations
[Original article written by Sarah Rachel Moncada-Oseguera and Yasmine Atallah]