The history of Canada is a history of colonialism. The Canadian imaginary, with its notions of a vast empty wilderness, is colonial to the core. We moved into someone else’s homeland, and we took the land through deceit and treachery. We did our best to destroy Aboriginal cultures and economies. And the colonial project continues to this day. Here’s how to end it in a way that will transform Canada’s relation to Indigenous peoples, to their land, and to Canadian history.
- End the current Canadian policy of seeking extinguishment of Aboriginal title. Period
- Respect the right of First Nations to say “no” to economic development on their traditional territories.
- Sign on to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Give legal status to Aboriginal languages and massively fund their support and dissemination — only one small part of taking responsibility for residential schools and the history of attempted ethnocide and genocide.
- Abolish the imposed system of Indian Act government and allow Indigenous Canadians to choose their own systems of government.
- Respect and protect Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous economies.
- Provide services to Aboriginal Canadians at a level that at least matches funding for similar services provided to other Canadians — at present, most services to Aboriginal Canadians, which are a treaty obligation of the Canadian state, are funded at levels below those given to other Canadians.
- Honour the spirit and intent of the treaties.
- Educate the wider Canadian population on the history of colonialism, and on the histories of Indigenous peoples on this land.