On November 17, 2016, the Institute for Research on Public Policy released a report by David Newhouse entitled Indigenous Peoples, Canada and the Possibility of Reconciliation. The report highlights an independent view of progress that has been achieved since the 1970’s, what will be required for true reconciliation to occur, and the importance of Canada’s public leaders to spearhead reconciliation efforts.
Reconciliation is now a Canadian political project that is moving from words to action. Its origins are in the 1998 Statement of Reconciliation, delivered by Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Jane Stewart in response to the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. The statement framed reconciliation as an “ongoing process” and “a process of renewal.” It has taken almost two decades — from the 1998 Statement of Reconciliation, to the 2008 Statement of Apology for Indian Residential Schools, to the December 2015 release of the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) — for this project to become an important part of the Canadian public policy landscape.
The framing of the recommendations of the TRC as calls to action was a brilliant move that created a policy frame for Canadians, their governments and their institutions to use to guide concrete efforts toward reconciliation. A large number of governments, agencies and organizations are now taking steps to address particular calls to action within their mandates.
Should we be optimistic? I believe that, more than at any other time in Canadian history, we should. Of course, huge challenges lie ahead. Tackling them means we will have to confront our history, our governance processes and our understandings of Indigenous peoples and their capacity to govern themselves. The challenge rests with public policy-makers and educators, in particular.
— David Newhouse from “Indigenous Peoples, Canada and the possibility of Reconciliation”
The following infographic summarizes the main pillars of reconciliation (Source: irpp.org/research-studies/insight-no11/):