To recognise the land is an expression of our gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory we are on. It is a way of honouring the Indigenous People who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial and recognising their enduring connections to their traditional homelands. It is important to recognise the honour that Indigenous people have accorded us in sharing this land with us. It is equally important to understand the long standing history of dispossession and violence that has brought us to reside on the land, to seek to understand our place within this history and to recognise the resilience and continuing vitality of Indigenous communities who persist against great odds.
The land we stand on, the land that we live and work on is Treaty 1 Territory. The traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Ojibway, Oji-Cree and Dene and the homeland of the Metis Nation and our water sourced from Shoal Lake #40, Treaty 3 Territory.
We at Blue Dragon Consulting recognise and acknowledge the history and harms of colonisation on Indigenous Peoples and the mistakes of the past and affirm our commitment and responsibility in improving relationships between nations as well as improving our own understanding of local Indigenous People and their cultures.
We acknowledge and respect the Treaties formed on these territories. We acknowledge that we are all treaty people and as settlers we recognise the rights of the Indigenous People and recognise our responsibilities to uphold and respect the treaties formed on these territories.
In our treaties we adopted each other as family so we must to treat each other as family. In acknowledging the Land, the People and the treaties formed on these lands, we commit to work towards active accountability, justice, equity, and reconciliation in collaboration with Indigenous People.
10 actions we can each take today in the spirit of reconciliation
On September 30th, Canadians are called upon to wear orange to acknowledge the harmful legacy of the Canadian residential school system, and bear witness to the healing journey of survivors and their families.
With the last residential school in Canada closing in 1997, the impacts of this history continues to be relevant in Winnipeg, Manitoba and in Canadian society. As Canadians listen and believe the truths of Indigenous peoples, we use this day as a call to action to create a better Canada. Here are ten things we can all do today to help move towards reconciliation.
- Wear Orange. Wearing orange on September 30th is to acknowledge and witness the truths behind the residential school system. Wearing orange creates awareness, and honours the healing journey of victims, survivors, and their families.
- Learn what traditional lands you live or work on, and the Nation(s) who have called it home since time immemorial. Here is a great resource to get started: Native-Land.ca | Our home on native land
- Talk with your child or a friend about the legacy of the residential school system, and the impact of intergenerational trauma in Indigenous communities. These can be uncomfortable conversations to have, but when we welcome what is uncomfortable, we have an opportunity to move forward together. Here are some resources:
• For adults – Residential Schools – AFN It’s Our Time Toolkit
• For youth (age specific) – Education Resources – NCTR
- Read books by Indigenous authors about residential schools. These powerful stories share the truths behind the traumatic experience and legacies of residential schools in Canada. Making space for these voices in your bookshelf is a great way to better understand the history. Get started with these titles:
• Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
• Five Little Indians by Michelle Good
• The Education of Augie Merasty by Joseph Auguste Merasty with David Carpenter
- Listen to residential school survivors’ stories. Phyllis Webstad is one of the founders of orange shirt day, and she tells the story of her experience at residential school, and why it is important that these stories continue to be told. Listen to Phyllis’ story here: Phyllis Webstad – On Orange Shirt Day
- Look at Indigenous art. Art is a powerful tool that can be used to tell the story of residential school experiences, and to reconnect with language and culture. Cree artist Kent Monkman’s work often depicts shocking imagery that speak to injustices experiences by Indigenous people. His painting “The Scream” is an emotionally charged work that shares the pain of removing Indigenous children from their families. Look at “The Scream” by Kent Monkman here (user discretion is advised): The Scream — Kent Monkman
- Follow Indigenous activists and educators on social media. Indigenous leaders are actively sharing their stories, and sharing what the path to reconciliation looks like. Bringing more diverse voices into your news feed is a great way to keep listening, learning and unlearning past biases and conceptions. Some accounts to start following:
• Niigaan Sinclair | Anishinaabe writer and Associate Professor | Twitter – @Niigaanwewidam
• Tanya Tagaq | Inuit singer and activist | Twitter – @tagaq | Instagram – @tanyatagaq
• Cindy Blackstock | Gitxsan First Nation Family & Youth Advocate | Twitter – @cblackst
- Advocate by speaking up. Advocating for reconciliation could mean writing letters to your political leaders, or speaking up as a bystander. Our voices have power, and they become all the more powerful when we use them together.
- Donate to an Indigenous organisation that is working to bring education and awareness about the history of residential schools to the public. Here are a few to consider:
• Orange Shirt Day
• Legacy of Hope Foundation – Indigenous-led charitable organization
• The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund – Indigenous Reconciliation
- Stay engaged with the message and the movement. The path to reconciliation takes more than a day. It requires all of us to take action in our personal and professional lives on an ongoing basis.
If you are a former residential school student in distress, or have been affected by the residential school system and need help, you can contact the 24-hour Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419, or the Indian Residential School Survivors Society toll free line at 1-800-721-0066.