The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history, began in 2007. One of the elements of the agreement was the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) to facilitate reconciliation among former students, their families, communities and all Canadians.
But how has the Government of Canada been delivering on these recommendations? Let’s take a look at what’s being done under museums and archives (Calls to Action 67 to 70) as we continue this series on the TRC Calls to Action.
Call to Action 84: Restore and increase funding to the CBC/Radio-Canada, to enable Canada’s national public broadcaster to support reconciliation, and be reflective of the diverse cultures, languages, and perspectives of Aboriginal peoples, including, but not limited to:
Increasing Aboriginal programming, including Aboriginal-language speakers; increasing equitable access for Aboriginal peoples to jobs, leadership positions, and professional development opportunities within the organization; continuing to provide dedicated news coverage and online public information resources on issues of concern to Aboriginal peoples and all Canadians, including the history and legacy of residential schools and the reconciliation process.
Call to Action 85: Call upon the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network to support reconciliation, including but not limited to:
Continuing to provide leadership in programming and organizational culture that reflects the diverse cultures, languages, and perspectives of Aboriginal peoples; Continuing to develop media initiatives that inform and educate the Canadian public, and connect Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.
Call to Action 86: Call upon Canadian journalism programs and media schools to require education for all students on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations
The Government of Canada is not the lead on a response for Call to Action 86. According to Indigenous Watchdog, an online platform tracking each Call to Action and who is accountable for each outcome, Call to Action 86 is still in progress.
Multiple initiatives are underway at most Schools of Journalism. On June 11, 2019, the Canadian Association of Journalists response to the MMIWG Final report accepts specific actions addressed to members of the Media. On Sept. 3, 2020, an updated edition of “Seeing Red: A History of Natives in Canadian Newspapers” with updates addressing Idle No More and Indigenous genocide was announced. Book indicates media has improved its depiction of Indigenous people but still fails to understand the indigenous worldview – especially the Indigenous relationship to the land that does not recognize the concept of individual property.