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 (Call to Action 57) as we continue this series on the TRC Calls to Action.
Call to Action 57: We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants 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 Canada School of Public Service is a common learning service provider for the federal public service. In response to Call to Action 57, the school continues to develop the Indigenous Learning Series intended for all public service employees, Indigenous employees, leaders and functional specialists.
The series aims to increase cultural competency and awareness within the public service about First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada and the Government of Canada’s roles and responsibilities. It focuses on the rights, perspectives, cultures, history and heritage of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada and their relationship with the Crown.
The insights gained through this series will support public service employees in working effectively with diverse Indigenous populations and in developing federal policies and programs that meet the unique needs and realities of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada.
Since 2016, the school has been delivering learning events such as armchair discussions and workshops as part of the series. The school also continues to update course material and integrate Indigenous content into courses and programs for leaders and functional specialists.
Since 2017, the Government of Canada has; conducted internal and external engagement sessions to seek input from Indigenous communities and academics in addition to public service partners; launched online content; launched three classroom courses across Canada of the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, Reconciliation Begins with Me, and the Leadership and Indigenous Affairs course; established a Circle of Elders and Elders in Residence initiative to support content development, delivery of courses as well as support for school employees; organized regional and national learning events; established a governance structure to ensure content is truth-based and reflective of Indigenous perspectives; worked collaboratively with internal and external partners to advance the Call to Action 57/
Upcoming initiatives include; the launch of the Leadership and Indigenous Affairs course; the launch of a classroom course on cultural competency and modern treaty implementation, in partnership with Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada; the development of a learning roadmap or passport for Indigenous employees; the development of Indigenous training offered in all departments; additional training sessions for facilitators and increased number of classroom offerings across the country; additional online learning products, including videos and job aids; continuing to integrate Indigenous learning content within functional specialists and learning development programs; learning solutions and support for Indigenous employees; enhanced engagement with external partners such as provinces and territories and Indigenous communities and representatives to leverage and share existing materials.