To Adeana Young, the federal Green Party’s shadow cabinet critic for reconciliation and Indigenous affairs from Haida Gwaii, Truth and Reconciliation means small yet meaningful action.
“I think conversations are good, but, also, I think action needs to be taken at the same time,” Young said.
In School District 50, where she is a school board trustee, it means referring to the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission whenever making any decision.
“I think any organization, any entity, any municipality: use that Truth and Reconciliation, the 94 calls to action, and implement it [and] reference it when they are making major decisions within their governing bodies.”
On Haida Gwaii, for example, they already teach Haida language from Kindergarten to Grade 12, she said. What she’d like to see next is teachers in school to start using the cultural names children are given when they are young or when they transition from one school to another.
For politicians, small actions such as using the greetings of the language from the unceded territory they are living and conducting business on is a start. Taking the next step from there, Young would like to see politicians reaching out at the community level and asking what reconciliation means and what it looks like in their communities and neighbours.
Young wants to see final agreements encompassing natural resources, like fish, minerals and lumber, brought back before communities so they can actually see what the agreement entails and ask questions about what the agreement means.
Transparency and accountability are at the core of what Young believes in. Being able to make big agreements transparent between Indigenous communities and the government, such as with the with the Reconciliation Framework Agreement for Fisheries Resources (of which it is the first of its kind), are what meaningful reconciliation will have to look like.
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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