June is National Indigenous History Month. It’s a time for all Canadians to unlearn what many of us have been taught and learn the diverse history and contributions of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. At Ballad our Indigenous Awareness Advisor, Dr. Patricia Makokis, reminds us that education is a lifelong journey and is critical for the work that we do with our Indigenous partners. To do this, we continually strive to learn from and work with Indigenous partners through awareness, dialogue, and reflection, grounded in the spirit and intent of reconciliation.
This year, to celebrate Indigenous History Month virtually we recommend the following resources:
1. Watch: This June Dr. Patricia Makokis launched her second film, Treaty Walk: A Journey for Common Ground. Her series of films are used as teaching tools to build understanding, allyship and bridges for better relationships among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples.
2. Read: Spend some time reading 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph. The book provides readers with an overview of the restrictions and impacts imposed on First Nations due to the Indian Act. When you’re done that, pick up one of these books by Canadian Indigenous authors.
3. Listen: Have a laugh and listen to some Indigenous stand-up, sketches, and conversations about Indigenous approaches to comedy on CBC’S Unreserved.
4. Enroll: If you’re interested in pursuing guided learning enroll in Indigenous Canada which is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) through the University of Alberta. This free 12-week course focuses on Indigenous histories and contemporary issues that affect Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
5. Attend: Join in the online celebrations on June 21st for Indigenous Peoples Day hosted by Aboriginal Awareness Week Calgary. This year’s theme is “KEEPING THE CIRCLE STRONG through Mother Earth’s Future Generations.”
6. Identify: Review a map of where you live and work, and identify the traditional territory of the First Nation, Inuit and/or Métis Peoples in your area. Learn the names of the Indigenous groups, and any affiliated treaties. You can find some of this information on Native Land or the First Nations Profiles Interactive Map.
7. Reflect: Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. Select one that is aligned with the work that you do, and commit to ways that you can further this call to action.
8. Share: Share what you’ve learned and these resources with your friends, family, and co-workers. Start conversations around the dinner table about Indigenous history, culture, and contributions. Keep learning and sharing long-after the month of June!
As Dr. Makokis says: we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. So take the time this month to listen to, and read the many Indigenous voices across Canada.
Happy Indigenous History Month to all our First Nations, Métis and Inuit partners, and friends!