Reflecting on our settler privileges today and always
In light of the recent mass graves uncovered across Canada, Muse has been reflecting and learning, to re-examine our privileges as settler Canadians. Unfortunately, if you are like us, you were probably never taught about the cultural genocide imposed upon Indigenous nations. To help support Indigenous communities this year, we challenge you to approach today as an opportunity to learn and reflect. Here is a shortlist of some of the resources we are learning from to decolonize our previous education. If you are unfamiliar with these topics, consider today as an opportunity to grow as a Canadian and to support the Indigenous nations that share this sacred land with us. This list of resources is by no means expansive or representative of the vast and diverse resources available on the internet and from community centres. We feel it is a good starting point. Please note that these resources were collected and organized by a settler Canadian from Indigenous sources to educate and inform settler Canadians. In no way are we experts in this matter, we merely want to support our community by amplifying these resources. Please be mindful that many of the resources below include discussions of abuse, sexual abuse, murder and genocide. To properly and safely process the stories and history of trauma recounted in the articles and documentaries below, you may want to consider doing this work in increments to bring your full attention when learning and to be protective of your mental well-being.
Starting points to learning about the continued colonization of Indigenous Communities:
Learn about the land you live on
Did you know that most of Canada’s land is covered by Indigenous treaties and nations? Do you know the nations you share your home with? Visit www.native-land.ca to find out which nations you share this land with and learn about their cultures, languages, and celebrations. Muse Marketing Group is fortunate to share this land with the Haudenosaunee, Annishnabewaki, Attiwonderonk, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and Mississauga Peoples. This area and region commonly known to many of us as Hamilton, Ontario falls under the Between the Lakes Treaty of 1792. If you live in Hamilton or other areas of the Between the Lakes Treaty and want to learn more about its creation, visit the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation website to learn more. It’s important to remember that Indigenous people are not a monolith but rather are a part of many Nations that share this land with us. To help ensure their communities continue to thrive it is vitally important to practice decolonizing our current colonial systems and preconceived notions. This includes sharing, supporting and amplifying the voices of their communities while also pulling apart and eliminating racist and colonial ideals that exist within our own settler cultures.
Learn about the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people (MMIWG+) in Canada.
In September 2016, the Government of Canada officially launched the National Inquiry in order to identify the systemic social, political, and economic issues that have led to gender-based violence toward Indigenous women and girls. Specifically, Indigenous women and girls are 4.5x higher to be murdered or missing than non-Indigenous women and girls. Resources include:
- The final report on MMIWG
- Our Sisters In Spirit (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women + Girls)
- A new initiative by the Native Women’s Association of Canada;
Since the National Inquiry closed in 2019, the Government of Canada has been tasked with creating a National Action Plan to address this crisis, yet very little work has been done. Since the National Inquiry, there has been an increased perception that this crisis has been resolved. This is not the case. This website is dedicated to telling the full story.
- Running for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
- Searchers: Highway of Tears
- Searchers: Trawling Winnipeg’s Rivers for the Bodies of Unsolved Cases
- The REDress Project
(Photo by Muse team member Clara MacKinnon-Cabral. Her photo is currently being printed in high school McGraw-Hill textbooks to hopefully educate the next generation of settler Canadians)
Learn about the Residential Schools Systems in Canada:
It’s important to note that these Residential Schools were, in fact, internment camps and prisons for Indigenous children for over 140 years, from 1831 to 1997:
- Residential Schools in Canada: A Timeline
- An Overview of the Indian Act
- Back Story – CBC – Connie Walker and the firsthand legacy of residential schools
- In Jesus’ Name: Shattering the Silence of St. Anne’s Residential School
- Unrepentant: Canada’s Genocide
Learn about the role of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and where Canada stands in tackling the Calls to Actions (CTAs) outlined in the TRC:
- Read the full 94 CTAs in the final TRC Report (Note: At the current rate these CTAs are being implemented, it will take us 41 years to complete!)
- A Timeline of Residential Schools
- Understanding Intergenerational Trauma
- Memorial Map (Locate the nearest residential school to you. There were over 80 across what is currently Canada)
- The closest residential school to Muse was The Mohawk Institute in Brantford, Ontario, the oldest official residential school in Canada.
- Inside the Mohawk Institute
- Survivor Geronimo Henry recalls his experience at the Mohawk Institute Residential School
- Support the Woodland Cultural Centre (formerly known as the Mohawk Institute)
- Understanding UNDRIP (the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People)
Learn about the environmental racism and water crises plaguing Indigenous communities today:
- There’s Something in the Water – available on Netflix but also available as a book by Ingrid
- Dozens of Canada’s First Nations lack clean drinking water
- Canada’s Water Crisis
- The teen fighting to protect Canada’s water — meet Autumn Peltier
- The Landback Movement
It is important to note that despite all of the oppression, abuse, and neglect placed upon Indigenous communities, there is so much resilience, accomplishment, and prosperity that thrives and ripples within their communities.
Here is a shortlist of some remarkable Indigenous leaders from across Turtle Island:
- Alanis Obomsawin – notable and distinguished Director
- Buffy Sainte-Marie – Pioneering and influential Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and artist.
- Kiley May – Mohawk dancer, an actor, a model, a photographer and a writer. She is also a transgender woman, two-spirited
- Christi Marlene Belcourt – a Métis visual artist and author
- Sheila Watt-Cloutier – Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
- Dr. Nadine Caron – First female First Nations General Surgeon