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Indigenous-Settler Reconciliation: Indigenous Perspectives

"To the Commission, 'reconciliation' is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country. For that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour" (3).

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Reconciliation, vol. 6, McGill-Queen's UP, 2015.

"We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation" (4).

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015.

"We're all neighbours: that's the reality. This land has the potential for social greatness. And within this cultural mosaic lies the essential ingredient of freedom—acceptance. That's an Aboriginal principle I've learned. When you know your neighbours, when you can lean over the fence and hear each other's stories, you foster understanding, harmony and community" (4).

Wagamese, Richard. One Native Life. Douglas & McIntyre, 2009.

"To regain the confidence of our people, the government of Canada must reinstate our treaties. Upon this foundation and upon this foundation only, the government of Canada still can embark on an honourable undertaking with the Indian peoples" (42).

Cardinal, Harold. The Unjust Society. Douglas & McIntyre, 1999.

"When courts or legislatures act on assumptions that the Crown is necessarily vested with power-over Indigenous peoples, reconciliation becomes an impossibility" (xii).

Borrows, John. Foreword. A Reconciliation without Recollection? An Investigation of the Foundations of Aboriginal Law in Canada, by Joshua Ben David Nichols, U of Toronto P, 2020, pp. xi-xii.

"Rather than rendering the concept of reconciliation as vague and amorphous as a national hug . . . constitutional reconciliation grounds the process of reconciliation between Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian state in the juridical recognition of Aboriginal and treaty rights. . . . [C]onstitutional reconciliation — literally, the reconciling of Canadian law with the Aboriginal and treaty rights entrenched within it — is an integral starting point for the overarching political, social, cultural, and economic process of reconciliation between Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian state" (115).

"What constitutional reconciliation necessitates is nothing less than a turbulent and innovative approach of comprehending the constitutional rights of the Aboriginal other, which has not been developed in Eurocentric thought . . . . It requires the parties not to conceptualize their relationship from the comfort of Eurocentrism's familiar world views. It requires a departure from the institutional and legal status quo for the constitutional perspective. Such a departure from entrenched ways of being and knowing hinges upon the displacement of layers of prejudice" (119).

Henderson, James Youngblood. "Incomprehensible Canada." Reconciling Canada: Critical Perspectives on the Culture of Redress, edited by Jennifer Henderson and Pauline Wakeham, U of Toronto P, 2013, pp. 115-126.

"Real reconciliation must start with all the outstanding land questions" (12).

Louie, Clarence. Rez Rules: My Indictment of Canada's and America's Systemic Racism against Indigenous Peoples. McClelland & Stewart, 2021.

"Canada needs to stop using the word reconciliation. You will never reconcile, you will never make it whole."

Chief Ouray Crowfoot quoted in Graveland, Bill. "PM Signs Historic Land Claim Settlement with Siksika First Nation." CBC, 2 June 2022.

“The people who believe that they have the privilege of holding power and should continue to have that privilege, they’re going to push back. They’re going to fight against reconciliation. They’re the deniers of this story. They’re going to say this never happened. That the schools were all about education and the Indians should be thankful that they got an education. That message is a total mess. Schools were never about education, schools were always about forced assimilation and indoctrination, and we need to call it for what it is.”

Murry Sinclair quoted in Forester, Brett. "Residential School Deniers, White Supremacists Biggest Barrier to Reconciliation Says Murray Sinclair." APTN, 12 Jan. 2021.