Look Deeper

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

  • (Video: 4.5 minutes) Understand the facts, feel the pain with your heart.
  • The TRC’s 2015 Findings and Final Report Summary.
  • Reading the TRC’s Calls to Action is an education in itself. Which one touches you, inspires you to work passionately to implement that Call to Action? Pick one and go for it!
  • See Podcasts by Honourable Murry Sinclair under Indigenous Insights
  • National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has a mandate to archive evidence from residential schools and TRC hearings. The Centre also is to document and foster meaningful reconciliation in the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. Manitoba Legislation makes its rationale (Whereas…) and Mandate (clause 3) clear:
  • National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has a wonderful collection of brief videos and stories in its Education tab.
  • The National Council for Reconciliation is being established as the agency that will report to Canadians on our progress toward reconciliation. An interim Board made its report in June 2018.

Government Statements

The Yellowhead Institute’s perspective

Progress on TRC Calls to Action is partly in the “eye of the beholder.” The Yellowhead Institute provides evidence that two more Calls to Action are complete. This report is about 50 pages and is worth the time. Calls to Action Accountability: A 2022 Status Update on Reconciliation (Special Report).

2021 Status Update here

“There are two categories of Calls to Action: Legacy and Reconciliation.

Legacy Calls to Action (1–42) seek to redress ongoing structural inequalities in Child Welfare, Education, Health, Culture & Language, and Justice. Many of the Legacy Calls to Action aim to end injustices that Indigenous peoples are still experiencing.

Reconciliation Calls to Action (43–94) are composed of 17 subcategories. Broadly, these Calls to Action are meant to advance reconciliation through:

  1. inclusion of Indigenous peoples,
  2. educating Canadians on residential schools, reconciliation, and Indigenous worldviews, and
  3. establishing policy and practice in various sectors that uphold Indigenous Rights.

The editors summarize what they see … “limited transformative change … symbolic gestures, even if important … p.7 Calls to Action Accountability 2022.

Saskatchewan Ministry of Education

Reconciliation Approaches

Useful ways of acting and approaching projects

Indigenous Engagement Guide – Take a few minutes to read and think about these ideas from the Canadian Construction Association … Their messages are useful for all, but particularly for small business and other employers.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Article 18 –   right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives

Article 19 –   States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

Resources for discussion on informed consent:

United Nations Manual on Free Prior and Informed Consent

Quick read re consultation and resource issues

Kairos on informed consent

For further study:

Embracing Indigenous Rights: Bringing Life to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Unitarians welcome the December 3, 2020 tabling of Bill C-15, a federal government bill to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration has 46 clauses beginning on page 7.

You can read more here about Bill C-15 and initial reactions from The Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In late November 2020, Kairos Prairies North sponsored two fascinating webinar videos about the impact of implementing UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. For a new perspective, view these wonderful videos. They are well worth your time. …just use the direct links below or scroll down to the bottom of this link and enjoy these knowledgeable speakers. https://www.kairoscanada.org/kairos-regional-gatherings-great-speakers-at-your-fingertips-anytime

KAIROS Prairies North Fall Gathering: Embracing Indigenous Rights

Part 1 – (1 hr 30 min)

Part 2 – (57 minutes)

In Greater Detail

…by alphabetical subject matter

Child Welfare (Calls to Action 1-5)

  • British Columbia – Turpel-Lafond (Child Advocate/Ombudsman) reported 60% of children taken into government foster care are Indigenous children. Many reasons cited including housing, addictions, lack of trained social workers in BC (Sask thought to be doing better), failure to search for family members (grandparents, aunts, cousins) who might be able to care for children, etc. Primary reason thought to be lack of federal funding for children.
  • Blackstock, Cindy, CEO of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society​, launched human rights complaints in 2007. Our Human Rights Tribunal found Canada is discriminating against Indigenous children due to significantly lower federal funding for Indigenous child welfare on reserves than provinces provide.Blackstock states: There are currently more Indigenous children in state care than at the height of the residential school era. Hundreds of First Nations have died in the foster care system over the past two decades, with many more subjected to abuse.
  • Saskatchewan: 5000-7000 children in care 2018 = 5200). See a quick-read overview.  Fast, E. & Simpson, M. & Trocmé, N. (2014). Saskatchewan’s child welfare system. CWRP Info Sheet #128E.Montreal, QC: Centre for Research on Children and Families.
  • Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth Annual Report 2017 (see p.12-20 Promising Practices)
  • Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada: This report on child poverty shows 65% of Saskatchewan’s status First Nations children living on reserve are living in poverty compared to 50% of those living off reserve and 12% of non-indigenous, non-racialized children in Saskatchewan. The report is based on research and collaborative efforts of the Assembly of First Nations, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and Upstream, a communications think tank. CHILD WELFARE MATTERS! The least we can do is read this 20 pages, and think about what kind of people we want to be. There are things we can do to help.  Get Active!
  • Canada’s Government to act on Agreement to improve child welfare (January 2022): Progress, yes. After fine-tuning legal requirements, action will require the personal commitment of hundreds of politicians and bureaucrats across the country. These two articles provide a brief historical overview and an update on agreements reached as of January 2022.


Call 47 – education to public servants

We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills- based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism. Short Report | Full Report


Podcast—Is it time to reinvent Canada’s criminal justice system? – CBC.ca Jun 18, 2017 — Canada’s justice system got a swift kick in the pants this week from both the Supreme Court of Canada and the Senate. The verdict from those venerable institutions is that the justice system is very slow, backlogged and has become a system of injustice….

2017 Supreme court Jordan Ruling says court must deal with cases within 18 months (higher courts, 30 months) – Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould called the Jordan ruling a “call to action” and said the government is answering with ongoing initiatives and legal reforms.

Long Delays in our legal system: Read the legal decision 2016 R. vs Jordan (Supreme Court Judgement) here


In Canada, reservation lands set aside by the federal government are small. For example, all First Nations reserves in Canada together are not as large as a single Navajo Reserve in southern USA. (Note: INAC website states “The fulfilment of TLE agreements assists in building partnerships and encourages economic development on reserves and in surrounding communities.)”

For an overview on Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE), see this Government of Saskatchewan site that acknowledges 33 Saskatchewan First Nations did not receive the land promised them in treaties. Of these, 25 First Nations signed the 1992 Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement about how to address outstanding obligations. Since then an additional 8 TLE agreements have been signed,.

Please also see this perspective from respected journalist and publisher Doug Cuthand March 2021.

Mental Health/Suicide

  • On November 23, 2017, in a public discussion in Regina, singer Tanya Tagaq explained that in Nunavut, abuse, violence, and suicide are so common that it touches every person almost daily. People do not have time to grieve and recover from one event before the next occurs. The tone of the whole community is affected and all relationships are coloured by tragic events.
  • The Conference Board of Canada reports that in 2011, “Nunavut … [has an] average suicide rate that is three times higher than the worst-ranked peer country, Japan, and six times higher than the Canadian average. [Note: Sask. and NWT are close to tied for second worst] Link
  • Statistics Canada (2012) The Social Determinants of Higher Mental Distress among Inuit
  • Statistics Canada (2012) Health at a Glance, Suicide Rates: An Overview (This seems to be the most current available from Statistics Canada in 2018. ).
  • Health Canada (2013). National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy (NAYSPS) Program Framework

Water Ripples

Here is a collection of documentaries about how we are dealing with our water as a planet and why it is important for the survival of Indigenous people in particular, and all people world-wide. Each is about 22 minutes. Resolve to review them all.