by Andrea Smith
All resources in this section are copyleft. We invite you to use and share them freely, whilst crediting the source.
An essay by Harsha Walia
North America’s state and corporate wealth is largely based on the subsidies provided by the theft of Indigenous lands and resources. Colonial conquest was designed to ensure forced displacement of Indigenous peoples from their territories, the destruction of autonomy and self-determination in Indigenous self-governance, and the assimilation of Indigenous peoples’ cultures and traditions. Given the devastating cultural, spiritual, economic, linguistic, and political impacts on Indigenous people, any serious social or environmental justice movement must necessarily include non-native solidarity in the fight against colonization.
An article by Liza Minno Bloom and Berley Carnine
Since 2008, Liza Minno Bloom and Berkley Carnine have worked with the Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS) collective in solidarity with the Dineh people of Black Mesa, AZ who are resisting a forced relocation due to coal mining. Black Mesa holds the largest deposit of low-sulfur coal in the U.S. It is home to tens of thousands of Dineh and several hundred Hopi people and their sacred sites, burial grounds, animals, farms, and homes. The federal government has relocated between 10,000 and 20,000 Dineh people and several hundred Hopi from their ancestral homelands on Black Mesa since 1974 when the “Relocation Law” (PL-95-531) passed. This constitutes the largest relocation of Indigenous people in this country since the Trail of Tears and it is ongoing today.
An essay by David Yarrow
An essay by Waziyatawin
Excerpt: “Colonialism is the massive fog that has clouded our imaginations regarding who we could be, excised our memories of who we once were, and numbed our understanding of our current existence. Colonialism is the force that disallows us from recognizing its confines while at the same time limiting our vision of possibilities. Colonialism is the farce that compels us to feel gratitude for small concessions while our fundamental freedoms are denied. Colonialism has set the parameters of our imaginations to constrain our vision of what is possible.”
An essay by Waziyatawin
An excerpt: “This discussion is designed to help differentiate between oppression and colonization, and to clearly demarcate colonization as a distinct historical, political, social, and economic relationship between the colonizer and the colonized.”
by Laura Hurwitz & Shawn Bourque
Excerpt: “Colonialism is a system that occupies and usurps labor/land/resources from one group of people for the benefit of another. Colonialism is derived from the Latin word Colonia. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, in the Roman Empire, “Colonia” was a “ farm,” “landed estate,” or “settlement” granted to Roman soldiers in hostile or newly conquered territories.”
Explored through Image Theatre by members of Righting Relations
Explored through Image Theatre by members of Righting Relations
Explored through Image Theatre by members of Righting Relations
Lottie Mae Johnson, member of Apaji-wla’matulinej/Righting Relations East Hub is a residential school survivor who sat on the national Aboriginal Advisory Committee of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee. She talks about her healing and workshops she does to help others.
by Montreal Urban Aboriginal Strategy Network
Download the toolkit here
A pedagogical resource created by the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights in Edmonton, Alberta directed to teachers and community trainers with a full curriculum (lessons, activities, etc) to provide teachers across the province with a meaningful process to educate on reconciliation. The relevance of this toolkit is strengthened by the fact that it was built with community and student participation and based on the experience of Human Rights educators who piloted the sessions in schools with the support and guidance of local indigenous knowledge holders and elders.
The Advancing Reconciliation in Education Toolkit provides a framework for teachers to introduce and work through Canada’s complex and challenging history while inspiring action and understanding in schools and the broader community.
In this episode of Righting Relations Radio, we are in conversation with Alfredo Barahona from Kairos, exploring relationship-building between Indigenous, Immigrant and Refugee communities which both Kairos and Righting Relations are facilitating across Turtle Island, and the importance of knowing who you are.
Erika Gideon Marchand is writing her Master’s Thesis on “What does the Lnu’g language teach us? Transferring ancient ancestral teachings and wisdom in the 21st century by maintaining and reclaiming our spirit as Lnu’g.” Paulina Meader (Membertou) was raised Traditional and is currently studying to be a nurse. Rosalie LaBillois (Eel River Bar) drums and sings for Ceremonies. She recently sailed to Europe as a part of an Indigenous Youth Leadership program. Juisen Bartibøgue (Esgenoopetitj) grew up as a part of the Wabanaki Cultural Centre which worked to preserve Indigenous cultural and spirituality. Wasgeesc is still in elementary school. She travels with her grandmothers to traditional gatherings and helps with Ceremonies at her home in Acadia First Nations.
Sherri Mitchell (Penobscot) is a lawyer, author, world-wide speaker, community organizer and inspiring person. She shares her thoughts on the times we are living in, women and water and healing and empowerment. She is also a member of Apaji-wla’Matulinej
Marian Nicolas, (Mi’kmaq) has dedicated her life to being a Water protector. She is often found on the front lines protecting the Shubenacadie River from the Alton Gas Project. She learned the Water Ceremonies from Josephine Mandamin. While originally being from Eskasoni she has lived in Sipekne’katik First Nation for over 25 years. Spoken in Mi’Kmaq with English subtitles.
by Peter MacFarlane and Nicole Shabus
This handbook, which has been supported by the British Columbia Federation of Post-Secondary Educators (FPSE), brings together some of the most important Indigenous academics, activists and allies to explore the impacts of colonization on Indigenous peoples and to look at paths toward decolonization that can right the wrongs and may, some day, lead us toward true reconciliation.
Jobology is a facilitation tool and process designed by the Catalyst Centre to unpack to:
- to develop critical consciousness and mindfulness of who we are as a group in terms of a history of work
- to explore some of the history and concepts of class (and where participants fit in a class structure)
- to draw a difference between paid and unpaid work in our family histories; how gender is represented in work histories; how unionization and other struggles to change work conditions is represented in work histories; and so on.
View the tool here, share, innovate and please credit the source
Judy Googoo (Mi’Kmaq) shares her vast knowledge of medicine plants. Judy leads workshops on everything from plants, to hand drum making, tanning moose hides – everything connected to living on the land. She also is an artist and runs a craft shop in Wagmacook and a barber shop!
Christina Dunfield, MCC, speaks on her journey to becoming an ally with Indigenous people through the Peace and Friendship project. This project, for 13 years, has been bringing Indigenous people and settlers together for deep conversations, Ceremonies and teachings on Indigenous worldviews.
Cathy Gerrior (Inuit) speaks on the intergenerational impacts of residential schools; her experience of being raised in a white community and finding her way home again. She talks about building bridges between non-natives and Indigenous people.
In this episode of Righting Relations Radio, Ishbel Munro shares insights from Dialogue for Peaceful Change (DPC), a community-based conflict mediation methodology which has been used around the world to non-violently engage in conflict and move to transformation.
This toolkit summarizes and presents the learnings and processes used in building the Righting Relations West Regional Hub in Edmonton, Regina and Winnipeg. Whilst each of these cities adapted the activities to address their particular needs, there maintained elements which were constant: using a folk school model, using a de-colonial lens, circle facilitation and being women-led. We welcome you to use this toolkit in your community, and invite you to connect with the Righting Relations network. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to connect.
by the City of Vancouver
First Peoples: A Guide for Newcomers aims to fill the need for clear information in simple language about the First Peoples in Vancouver. It introduces newcomers to three important topics: who are Aboriginal people (or First Peoples) in Vancouver and Canada; a brief overview of the relationship between the Government of Canada and First Peoples; and current initiatives and ways for newcomers to learn more about Aboriginal people in the community
Getting a Grip in Order to Move Ahead
Study Circle Plan
by Renee Vaugeois, John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights
According to Stats Canada, hate crime in Alberta rose 39% in 2015, the highest increase seen across the country. In order to grapple and deal with hate however, it is important to understand its historical foundations. This study circle plan will engage participants in learning and discussing our complex history, with a focus on Alberta, and reflect on how this history manifests in communities today. We will engage in a reflection on how we as individuals can respond and act towards hate in our communities.
by Mikmaw Spirit
The talking circle is a traditional way for Indigenous people to solve problems. It is a very effective way to remove barriers and to allow people to express themselves with complete freedom. The symbolism of the circle, with no beginning and with nobody in a position of prominence, serves to encourage people to speak freely and honestly about things that are on their minds. Read more about the Talking Circle from a Mi’kmaq perspective here
In the Season 6 finale of Red Man Laughing, Ryan McMahon replays his “12 Steps To Decolonization in Canada” mini-series with an accompanying “directors cut” and commentary on each of the pieces. This is a hilarious look at decolonization, reconciliation, Canada 150 and the pathway forward in Canada.
The CBC web series 8TH Fire draws from an Anishinaabe prophecy that declares now is the time for Aboriginal peoples and the settler community to come together and build the ‘8TH Fire’ of justice and harmony.
By Ryan McMahon, c/o CBC
Join Anishinaabe comedian, Ryan McMahon as he travels across Ontario learning about Colonization Roads, the ways in which they have dispossessed Indigenous people of land and access to traditional territories while creating space for settlers in the colonial experiment that has become Canada. Watch it here
How A Worldwide Movement Is Challenging The Cult Of Speed
Challenges modern society’s culture of speed and efficiency, identifying the benefits of a slower-paced lifestyle and its effect on dining habits, urban living, mental and physical health, and relationships.
Access the book here
Miigam’agan, Righting Relations National Steering Committee Member and mi’kmaq clan mother from Esgenoôpetitj / Burnt Church New Brunswick, speaks about the forming of the Eastern Hub of Righting Relations through a women-led approach.
by Rehana Tejpar, capturing the learnings emerging from the Righting Relations Network
As we make the road by walking on this journey of building a women-led network of adult educators for social change across Turtle Island, in the spirit of Righting Relations, we are constantly learning and unlearning. We have captured and shared some of our learnings to date and will continue to evolve these ideas and practices as we continue to journey on this path.
- Involve Indigenous Peoples, Knowledges and Perspectives
- Understanding Colonization – It’s Contemporary History and Impacts
- Build Deep, Kin-like Relationships of Trust
- Integrating Mind, Body, Heart and Spirit brings forth Higher Level Solutions
- The Personal, Interpersonal and Systemic are all Inter-Connected
- Healing is a Valid Part of the Process
- True Collaboration Requires a Commitment to Ongoing Self Reflection and Inner Work
Kerry Prosper is a passionate fisher and Mi’kmaq elder, who is teaching his grandchildren how to exercise their treaty rights by fishing eels. But those rights come with sacred responsibilities to care for the land and waters of Mi’kma’ki. Seeking Netukulimk is a lyrical exploration of the traditional laws that govern fishing in the Mi’kmaq world, and some of the political battles that have been fought to defend them.
Directed by Martha Stiegman and Co-Produced by Martha Stiegman & Sherry Pictou
In Defense of our Treaties (2008) follows members of Bear River First Nation as they stand up to Canada’s Department of Fisheries (DFO), who is pressuring them to sell out their treaty rights for a ticket into the commercial fisheries. For the Mi’kmaq, fishing is a right that comes from the Creator, and is protected by the Treaties. In 1999, the Supreme Court recognized those rights, and DFO has since signed agreements with 32 of the 34 First Nations in the region. The deals offer money to buy into the commercial fisheries, as long as the Mi’kmaq fish under DFO’s jurisdiction. That’s not good enough for Bear River, one of two communities refusing to sign.
by Harsha Walia
Undoing Border Imperialism combines academic discourse, lived experiences of displacement, and movement-based practices into an exciting new book. By reformulating immigrant rights movements within a transnational analysis of capitalism, labor exploitation, settler colonialism, state building, and racialized empire, it provides the alternative conceptual frameworks of border imperialism and decolonization. Drawing on the author’s experiences in No One Is Illegal, this work offers relevant insights for all social movement organizers on effective strategies to overcome the barriers and borders within movements in order to cultivate fierce, loving, and sustainable communities of resistance striving toward liberation. The author grounds the book in collective vision, with short contributions from over twenty organizers and writers from across North America.
Online Learning Resources
This page provides you with links to various documents that you can explore to gain a deeper understanding of Indigenous issues, and to perhaps answer some of the questions you have.
This is not a quick process you embark upon, if you wish to truly understand what is going on in First Nations communities. It is not a matter of a few hours of research or even a few days. However, you can start digging with the time and interest you do have.
This list will always be a work in progress.
Unsettling Canada is built on a unique collaboration between two First Nations leaders, Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ron Derrickson.
Together the Secwepemc activist intellectual and the Syilx (Okanagan) businessman bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to Canada’s most glaring piece of unfinished business: the place of Indigenous peoples within the country’s political and economic space. The story is told through Arthur’s voice but he traces both of their individual struggles against the colonialist and often racist structures that have been erected to keep Indigenous peoples in their place in Canada.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, provides a framework for recognizing and respecting the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples. As a signatory, Canada is held accountable by international law to uphold its commitments to the Indigenous peoples of this land.
In order to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission makes the following calls to action.
Originally published in Native News Online
GUEST ESSAY – WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH
This guest essay was originally delivered on March 16, 2017 as the Women’s History Month keynote speech at the University of Maine by Sherri Mitchell.
by Paul Kivel
Uprooting Racism explores the manifestations of racism in politics, work, community, and family life. It moves beyond the definition and unlearning of racism to address the many areas of privilege for white people and suggests ways for individuals and groups to challenge the structures of racism.
Turning the Page on a Dark Chapter in our Shared History
This video is produced by the AFN and is an excellent resource, featuring former AFN National Chiefs Phil Fontaine and Shawn Atleo.
View Video: youtube.com
Canadian Journey in Restorative Justice
3 Videos: Archbishop Prendergast sent an invitation to the Archdiocese of Ottawa to join the Canadian Journey in Restorative Justice.
This link takes you to three videos: catholicottawa.ca
A brief history of Canada & the Residential School System
A 22-minute video about colonization which begins in 1491 and gives a succinct timeline of wars, treaties, reports, acts, apologies, etc. until 2010.
View Video: www.youtube.com
Uncovering the Wounds of Empire
A Response of The United Church of Canada to May 26
A National Day of Healing and Reconciliation
Rebecca Tabobodung, a member of the Wasauksing First Nation (Parry Island, Ontario), is a poet, activist, and filmmaker. She lives in Toronto. This poem appears in A Healing Journey for Us All, United Church of Canada, page 11.
Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
by Peggy McIntosh
“I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.”
Visit Website: www.beyondwhiteness.com
Decolonization in Theory and Practice
Unsettling America is a blog for a network of autonomous groups and individuals dedicated to mental and territorial decolonization.
Visit Blog: unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com
with Sherri Mitchell
Sherri Mitchell, a Penobscot Attorney, speaks on the show This Issue about the legal and social pressures on Indigenous people as stewards of their ancestral land and water.
View Video: www.youtube.com
A Historical Context
Adapted from PRIVATE-PUBLIC PARTNERSHIP: Training Manual by Jojo Geronimo
Neo-liberal ideology: underpinnings and assumptions.
Download: Neoliberal_context.doc (MS word)
A Fact Sheet on FPIC
Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decisions that could affect their rights, property, cultures and environment. They have the right to determine their own priorities.
Download: Freepriorconsent.pdf (PDF)
Do you know a good resource to add to our Decolonization page?
Send us the details and include an image, if you have one.