Indigenous Canada. Indigenous allyship.
FCG is committed to the TRC Calls to Action for Reconciliation.
At the start of 2022, as part of our reconciliACTION, FCG launched a bi-weekly discussion group for Indigenous Canada, an online course that is offered by the University of Alberta.
Divided into 12 modules, with topics ranging from historical Indigenous worldviews, treaty making, to current movements for self-determination, the course is ending and our discussion group is drawing to a close.
Participants conclude they found great value in both the course and the discussion group. Here’s what we heard from participants:
The Indigenous Canada study group was an amazing opportunity not only to learn about Indigenous history and current issues, but also to discuss those ideas with a group of thoughtful people. The experience challenged many of my preconceptions about the diversity of Indigenous experiences in Canada today. Charlie
Asked if anything shifted in their thinking as a result of participating in this course, and in the discussion group, one participant said the following:
As a result of the group, I have a greater understanding of how important it is to be open to learning and unlearning. I learned that it was okay to not know many things and that the important bit was being willing to learn and question biases and past understandings. Aminah.
The same person, when asked what they learned that surprised them, responded thus;
The degree to which Indigenous activists had to fight for their rights and continue to lead the struggle. I thought that many changes had come from the "government" as that was how I was taught in school about issues faced by Indigenous People. However, that is not true. For example, so that Métis Peoples would be officially recognized in the constitution Harry Daniels, a Métis leader, advocated and lobbied government officials relentlessly. Aminah
Some came to the group with extensive prior knowledge, and still found the group discussion and course worthwhile:
I have a comprehensive background on the Indigenous histories in Canada due to my schooling, employment, self-interest in learning more about the topic, and community involvement. I believe that all Canadians whether one is here due to birth or by choice ought to learn a more inclusive history of how Canada became a country, and its impact on the Indigenous peoples already inhabiting these lands. “Indigenous Canada” is a great way to begin this learning with the Indigenous narrators, written texts, videos, and accompanying artwork. Lisa
Looking ahead to next steps, one participant says she hopes to “continue building on the great overview the Indigenous Canada course provided on the diversity, perspectives and histories of Indigenous Peoples living in Canada as well as their resilience and resistance in the face of a long and ongoing history of injustice rooted in colonialism.”
It has deepened my conviction that caring for our common home must include protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples, that reconciliation with the Earth and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples move forward together. Karen
The course challenged much of what is portrayed and normalized concerning Canada’s foundation.
For me, the course brought home the evil of the colonial system, its ongoing legacy and the urgency to decolonize. The pain and suffering that Indigenous peoples have experienced/continue to experience is unimaginable. And yet, the resilience, the will to endure is strong. We need to urgently ally with Indigenous community groups and do our part to correct Canada’s shameful, genocidal history. Bea
This course has shifted my perspective of the common narrative of Canadian history. I was able to reflect on my limited knowledge of what I have been taught in the past regarding the historical relationship between Canada and Indigenous Peoples across the country. It has inspired me to continue my learning and deepen my knowledge of both Indigenous communities and Canadian history. I am excited to register for more educational webinars, and Indigenous workshops and enroll in more courses. Aleyxa
FCG hopes you too, will be inspired to take this free, online course and learn about your country’s history. As Ginger Gosnell-Myers says in her 2018 TEDx, Vancouver talk, Canada needs to make reconciliation part of its national identity, as countries like Germany and New Zealand do.