Let’s leave residential school tragedies in the past

The dead should be appropriately honoured. But some opportunists will exploit these dead children for financial and political gain

Let’s leave residential school tragedies in the pastThe discovery of human remains at a former residential school site has set off a firestorm that has already resulted in demands for another national inquiry and massively expensive forensic and excavation projects. But maybe we should pause and ask some questions. The Kamloops Indian Residential School operated as a residential school from 1890 to…

We must discover the truth, no matter how horrible

We must find out the truth about residential schools if we are to heal from the wounds caused by our cruelty

We must discover the truth, no matter how horribleThe recent discovery of the bodies of 215 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School is tragic but not at all surprising. In 1907, federal medical inspector Dr. Peter Bryce provided a report to the Department of Indian Affairs regarding the horrendous health conditions at residential schools across Canada. Those conditions resulted in up to…

Director examines colonization in production of classical play

Actor, playwright, director, producer Reneltta Arluk returns to U of A as first Indigenous woman to direct on Timms Centre’s main stage

Director examines colonization in production of classical playReneltta Arluk admits being the first Indigenous woman to graduate from the University of Alberta’s BFA acting program in 2005 was a hard-won distinction. In a moment of frank disclosure, Arluk recalls confronting no small measure of racial bias among certain faculty members who made her feel she had no right to be there. Some…

To end racial inequality, Canada must embrace equal rights and obligations

Canadian elites accepted the old-world model of political and social organization based on identification with racial groups

To end racial inequality, Canada must embrace equal rights and obligationsColumnist and author Richard Gwyn wrote that the 1950s was a time “when Canadians came to realize and believe that a ‘new nationality’ could be political rather than ethnic, or composed of  values and attitudes, rather than races.” Gwyn, author of Nation Maker – Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times, a biography of Canada’s first prime…

We minimize, revise and ignore history at our own peril

Confronting the horrors of our past and trying to make things right isn’t an easy task but a peace comes from doing the right thing

We minimize, revise and ignore history at our own perilIt seems that everywhere we turn we find a new scandal, some memory from the past that haunts us. Though virtually every state and institution has something to hide, there’s something liberating in speaking the truth. While his tenure hasn’t been without controversy, many around the world have been relieved to see the openness and…

Ancient moccasin suggests Dene migrated farther south than thought

Artifact found in a cave in Utah reveals precolonial connection between Canadian Subarctic and American Southwest

Ancient moccasin suggests Dene migrated farther south than thoughtA piece of leather from an 800-year-old moccasin found in a Utah cave has helped researchers retrace the ancient steps of a remarkable migration that saw some Dene (Athapaskan) people leave their homes in the continent’s Subarctic and eventually create new homes scattered across the southern United States as Dineh (Navajo) and Ndee (Apache) ancestors,…

History shows a path to resolve lobster fisheries dispute

Non-Indigenous fishers in Atlantic region need not be worried that Indigenous rights will come at the expense of conservation

History shows a path to resolve lobster fisheries disputeA dispute in Ontario may help us understand ongoing tensions over the lobster fisheries on the East Coast and offer a solution. The war over Indigenous fishing rights has played out before in Canada. As we reflect on recent violence in Nova Scotia over the lobster fisheries, it’s important to know if there are any…

The horrible cost of constantly punting Indigenous claims to court

Governments have more resources and delays can drag on for years. Indigenous peoples pay heavily for the delays in resolving their claims

The horrible cost of constantly punting Indigenous claims to courtAt any given time, the government of Canada is dealing with hundreds of legal matters with Indigenous Canadians. This is inevitable given the complexity of Indigenous rights, the history of Canadian policy and patterns of government ‘lawlessness’ that left the country liable for the administrative misdeeds of the past 150-plus years. The number, diversity and…

Preserving the history of Alberta’s Black heritage

Great-granddaughter of an early settler, Debbie Beaver is preserving a vital part of a province’s history

Preserving the history of Alberta’s Black heritageEvery time someone asks Debbie Beaver where she’s from, she has to shake her head. When she answers, “I’m Canadian,” there’s the inevitable followup question: “OK, but where are you really from?” “It still irritates me to this day,” said the administrative assistant in the University of Alberta’s Department of Psychology, who co-founded the Black Settlers of…

Time to come to terms with Canada’s original sin

Separating one racial group of people from the rest of the nation and expecting a good result was madness then and is madness now

Time to come to terms with Canada’s original sinCanadians are watching protests on American streets that stem in part from their history of slavery. That original sin dogs America and tears at its soul. But Canada, too, has an original sin. And that’s our history with Indigenous people. It’s not that Canada treated Indigenous people poorly. (It did treat them poorly but that’s…