“Hear our voices”
This is the second year we in the Province of Ontario celebrate Treaties Recognition Week. We have much to learn about treaties in Canada. Our history is loaded with these arrangements that have left an alarming scene; more than 300 years of treaty making.
We all are treaty people. It also has been said that we all are victims; victims of treaty ignorance, miscommunication, treaty abuse, deception, racism, and manipulation. When we acknowledge this painful truth, we can begin to come together to establish new ways of being treaty people. There is much need for healing. Education and conversation do help to nurture new attitudes and relationships.
1. We recognize pain and anguish resulting from these many treaty agreements. We also find hope in knowing that the United Nations has worked for 25 years with all nations on earth and indigenous peoples to develop the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (often called UNDRIP). It is strange that such a document is needed to remind us that Indigenous peoples are people; even stranger that we have to be reminded that Indigenous peoples have the right “to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties” concluded with states or their successors.
Our need for such a document indicates the persistent presence of a deep seated problem. Resource extraction around the world uses underlying practices that dehumanize Indigenous peoples. The annex to UNDRIP may guide us to the problem, when it affirms that “indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, while recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such.”
If you are not familiar with UNDRIP, we hope that you will read it; it takes only a few minutes and works for a lifetime. You can access it through the internet or you may take a copy of this booklet. http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf Knowledge is power for change. Frequent use encourages wisdom.
2. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued ninety-four calls to action. When we become familiar with these and commit to respond, we nurture hope for future generations. Read one section each week. Talk about and discuss with someone else what you are reading. http://nctr.ca/assets/reports/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf
3. This year we focus on our attitudes and the contributions of Indigenous people. We take for granted many gifts that have been shared. How do we acknowledge these? Our Reconciling Circle hopes that naming some of these treasures will help us all to become more conscious of the need and opportunities for renewing relationships. We know that we need a new way of relating.