There has been amazing work done by Indigenous people to promote the reading of the Truth and Reconciliation Report. I was inspired, for example, by the writing of Chelsea Vowel and her call for those in politics and the media to read the Report before they dared to refer to the Report. The #ReadTheTRCReport video project is an incredible undertaking started by Erica Violet Lee, a Nēhiyaw woman in Saskatoon, Zoe Todd, a Métis writer in Edmonton, and Joseph Paul Murdoch-Flowers, an Inuk man in Iqaluit. In it, you can watch others read sections of the Summary. There are many other examples of excellent work being done across the country, but these people are the ones who, by witnessing their work, inspired me to contribute in this way.
My mission is simple: to get as many people as I can to read the TRC Report. As a non-Indigenous person, I believe that the first step in being an ally is to listen deeply, which means that I will listen with an attitude of being open to the possibility of being changed by what I hear. I believe that colonialism is not going to simply recede into our background. As a legacy, it’s in ALL of us. Indigenous people are NOT the only ones who need to be decolonized. Non-Indigenous people, too, need to take part in the process by confronting colonial legacies and privilege, by questioning the deeply embedded misconception that our ways of knowing and seeing and being are superior, and by acknowledging and honouring how interconnected our relationships with Indigenous people have become. I believe that taking part in this process is our moral obligation. The other day the wonderful writer Monique Gray Smith asked me: “How can we lift each other up?” I couldn’t answer. For myself, I don’t yet know. But I hope that this is a small step in the right direction.
Former schoolteacher in the lands of the Tahltan and Nuu-chah-nulth peoples
Former Treaty Archivist for the Ktunaxa Nation
Author of The Heaviness of Things That Float, a novel about confronting colonial privilege