I am a white settler in Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia), the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Mi’kmaq Wəlastəkwiyik (Maliseet), and Passamaquoddy Peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1726. I was born and lived most of my life in Cree, Stoney, Blackfoot and Tsuut’ina lands in areas covered by Treaty Six and Seven, now known as Saskatchewan and Alberta Canada.

I live in a culture where I am privileged due to my white skin every day in so many ways I don’t see. I don’t have to actively participate in racism to benefit from the historic colonization and ongoing systemic oppression of people of color.

In Canada, we have an ongoing process of Truth and Reconciliation. A commission has been set up and across the country Indian Residential School survivors testified to their experience of sexual and physical abuse in these church-run institutions. The stated purpose of residential schools was to “take the Indian out of the child”. Young Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families, often taken miles away, often never heard from again. We cannot understand the intergenerational trauma of Indigenous people without acknowledging and understanding this.

I am a white Settler on Indigenous land. I benefit from systemic oppression based on race. I feel shame and responsibility. I feel like what I can do will never be enough. It will never be adequate reparation for the harm that has been and continues. 

We are not individually and directly responsible for what happened in the past or for the systemic oppression that exists now. We are individually and directly responsible for how we engage with this now.

There are many ways to engage appropriately and from the heart. Educating ourselves is a start and there are good written, audio and video resources and online courses. Some are listed below. Do this before asking Indigenous people to educate you.

Find out whose land you live on. Donate time, money or land if you can. Have ongoing conversations with people about colonization, racism and systemic oppression.

“Whatever your skin pigmentation, do not pretend that you are unable to rise to the challenge of Somatic Abolitionism. You can either accept this challenge, and sometimes make mistakes or fail, or choose to not take it up at all and accept the consequences of turning away from your own growth and liberation.” Resmaa Menakem (link to article below)

We have to fight for justice and the world we want to live in. Do your own healing work and connect with others. Build resilience to stay out of despair so we can take action together.

We are all treaty people.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Canada
Reports from the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation

Indigenous Canada, free course from the University of Alberta

Maps of Indigenous land

150 Acts of Reconciliation

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Indigenous Solidarity Action Guide

Ecotrust Call to Action

White Bodies and the Energies of Race, Resmaa Menakem

Truth and Reconciliation: my blog for Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation day 2022

I have held retreats at Windhorse Farm many times over the years and love this forest. Margaret and Jim Drescher have stewarded this land and forest for over 30 years and are part of something wonderful with this transfer of land back to the Mi’kmaq people.

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