By Kory Melnick
June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, a time for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to reflect upon and learn about the unique histories, cultures, and heritages of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities.
National Indigenous History Month is a call to action for settler-Canadians to improve our understanding of Canada’s colonial past and present. Additionally, National Indigenous History Month allows Canadians to express their genuine appreciation for the many contributions of Indigenous peoples and communities, and to celebrate the strength and resiliency of Indigenous peoples today, amidst the ongoing effects of colonization.
At the Patrick Power Library, we are fortunate to foster a learning environment on the traditional and unceded land of the Mi’kmaq. In awknowledgement of this, we’ve highlighted a list of suggested action items for settler-Canadians to consider.
Settler-Canadian Action Items
1. Whose land do you live on?
You’ve probably heard of land acknowledgments, which often take place at the beginning of an event. Genuine and well thought out land acknowledgments recognize the people upon whose land we live, work and play. Learn more about land acknowledgments and why they are important. Also, visit https://native-land.ca/ and use the interactive map to learn and explore!
2. Read the Truth and Reconciliation Report
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established in 2008. It provided those impacted by the Indian Residential School system an opportunity to make their voices heard and detail how the Canadian government can enact change and facilitate reconciliation. The final report was released in 2015 with 94 calls to action. The Canadian government has so far completed only ten.
3. Do some research
The Patrick Power Library has plenty of resources and materials to help you research Indigenous history and cultures. You’ll find tons of great resources on the Indigenous Studies LibGuide. Here are just a few of many great resources you might explore, depending on your area of interest:
- In My Own Moccasins: a memoir of resilience by Helen Knott
- Walking in the woods: a Métis journey by Herb Belcourt
- Violence against Indigenous women: literature, activism, resistance by Allison Hargreaves
- One Native Life by Richard Wagamese
- Life Among the Qallunaat by Mini Aodla Freeman
We know that finding information on a topic that may be new to you can be overwhelming. Don’t hesitate to contact the Library’s Research Help Team if you’re looking for information, even if it’s for general interest and not for an assignment.
4. Show your Support
Settler-Canadians are responsible for our personal commitments to working towards reconciliation. You can show this commitment by following the action items above, as well as donating to local Indigenous organizations or following local activists on social media. Below are some resources to help guide you on ways you can show your support.
It’s vital to keep listening and learning about Indigenous history, particlarly as settlers. National Indigenous History Month can help us celebrate Indigenous brilliance and success; recognize and acknowledge the realities of intergenerational trauma; and work towards a brighter, more just future for all.
This list was adapted from the action items listed on www.OnCanadaProject.ca/SettlersTakeAction. Please visit this website for more information.