This is the inaugural post of the 2017-2018 Law and Social Media Project at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law. We begin with an acknowledgement that our blog is made possible by the university’s occupation of Treaty 6 territory, “a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples including the Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/Saulteaux/Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others whose histories, languages, and cultures continue to influence our vibrant community.”
We also begin with the understanding that acknowledgment is not enough.
The focus of this year’s blog is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). As part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the TRC hosted national events and heard from more than 6,000 witnesses, most of whom survived the experience of living in the schools as students. These initiatives culminated in, among other things, the publication of a multi-volume Final Report, an Executive Summary, and 94 Calls to Action.
While the TRC has done much to bring one state-sanctioned genocidal policy into mainstream Canadian consciousness (that is, the forcible removal of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children from their families), remembrance politics and mechanisms of redress are not without issue. Reconciliation is without a doubt a far more complicated concept than it appears.
In writing this blog, we aim to unpack the histories and contemporary realities of this land and the peoples who have lived and continue to live upon it. We hope to challenge the trend towards superficial reconciliatory praxis, and to work together with ourselves and our readers to create a better way forward. We are here to incite reconcili-action.
We will feature academic and scholarly publications, written and filmed interviews with special guests, artistic contributions, personal reflection, surveys, and a weekly edition of ‘In the Media.’
Our blog will include critical and creative engagement with Aboriginal child welfare, criminal justice, missing and murdered Indigenous women and children, Aboriginal title, rights, and the ‘honour of the Crown,’ Indigenous laws, economic initiatives in Indigenous communities, creative representations of resistance, and many more topics central to our and our readers’ unlearning and reimagining.
In the remaining posts for this week, however, you will have a chance to meet the people behind the blog. Our team is comprised of Cree, Metis, and settler law students from the University of Alberta, and we look forward to a year of reconcili-action with you!
We have a lot to say, and we know you do, too. Join the conversation by following us on Twitter: @ReconciliYEG; Facebook: www.facebook.com/reconciliActionYEG/; and Instagram: @reconciliactionyeg. To receive daily alerts to our blog, email the words "add me" to email@example.com.
Until next time,
Team ReconciliAction YEG