Ongoing processes of colonialism have profoundly shaped and affected relations between the Canadian State and First Nations, and non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples. Settler consciousness, which permeates through nearly every aspect of mainstream society, has allowed colonial practices and narratives to remain dominant within Canada.
What follows is a collaborative collection of past, present, and ongoing initiatives from across the territory now known as Canada, which contribute to the process of understanding and transforming settler consciousness, and rebuilding relationships between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples who share this land.
To navigate the collection, which is presented in the form of a prolific blog, you can select particular topics and sectors using the Categories and Tags sections on the right sidebar.
Created in 2012, Pinnguaq is a not-for-profit whose focus is on “providing play experiences in indigenous languages”, and whose mission is to “embrace technology as a means of unifying and enabling all people”, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. Their initiatives are to incorporate play and gaming “to a wide reaching applications that can benefit tourism, education, and economic development”. Apps such as “Art Alive” allow users to become educated about Indigenous teachings and culture through interactive platforms. This specific app takes pre-existing art, photographs, and cultural artifacts, and animates them as the interactive experience to learn about the culture, history, and art itself. These examples are also great tools for educators for preschoolers and young children, as they allow a different kind of learning experience and one that is accessible to all. Their newest initiative is Computers for Success Nunavut (CFSN) which delivers hundreds of computers to communities across Nunavut every year, through the national program Computers for Success (CFS). For more information, visit their website.
Created by Nunavut based developer Pinnguaq, in partnership with Nibi Walk and the Research for Indigenous Community Health Center, Honour Water is a singing game for healing water, where “water teachings are interwoven with singing challenges alongside art” by artist Elizabeth LaPensée. The songs are passed on in the Anishinaabe language of Anishinaabemowin, and “gifted by Sharon Day, the Oshkii Giizhik Singers, and elders who collaborated at the Oshkii Giizhik Gathering”. This game is meant as a tool to teach about the importance of the water and can be used as a potential resource by educators to teach young children about the Anishinaabe teachings of the water. Video games and applications like this are exploring a new set of virtual tools that are becoming available and are accessible to all; Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
While this is a singular episode from the show, it’s a powerful talk given by Doug White at the Vancouver Island University Indigenous Speakers Series. He discusses and looks at the ways in which reconciliation has been tackled, but what those efforts have lacked and why they haven’t worked as well as it was thought they would. He proposes a new way in which reconciliation should be tackled: with love. This is a really good listen for any educator, student, ally, and Canadian citizen alike to listen to what Mr. White has to say on rethinking reconciliation.
Although it’s a recent initiative, The Indigenous Ally Toolkit released by the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network is a resource that tackles frequently asked questions, as well as the do’s and don’ts of being an ally. Rather than being a super in-depth kind of tool, it covers the general basics, for generally new allies, or those just wanting to be more informed. The toolkit is available as a pdf document.
Through the expression of Indigenous dance, culture can always be expressed. Two women have pushed these boundaries of dance expression, to create a blend of Indigenous dance and European dance. The goal of their dance is to create a piece that expresses both cultures in serenity, that showcases the colonial history, but still allows people to realize there can still be a light leading to a greater future.
Street art has been a trend that for many years has been looked down upon. A positive and inclusive message could perhaps change that thought. In Montreal, Unceded Voice is a street art initiative that brings Indigenous-identified women, women of color, queer, two-spirit and gender nonconforming artists. Each piece of art expresses current and historical issues that have been and are being faced by the categories of people listed above. Overall, this initiative does not only allow for decolonization of a settler mindset. It also will enable settlers who are being oppressed to an artistic outlet where they can work becoming allies with indigenous communities.
Indigenous fashion week in Toronto is for everyone. It is a freedom of expression through clothing design. The Indigenous fashion week in Toronto blog states that regardless of class, gender, culture race, geographic location, education level, artistic understanding or professional industry, every person is welcome to participate and showcase their talents. Toronto’s Indigenous fashion week’s designers are made up of 60 percent Indigenous cultured people. The blog also says the job of this initiative is to challenge mainstream perceptions of Indigenous people and culture. Through the expression of fashion, the contemporary Indigenous community can showcase their extraordinary talents and begin the journey into the fashion world. For more information, please visit the links below.