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Becoming an ally to Indigenous people

Niiwin Wendaanimak garden at Parkdale Queen West Health CentreI want to learn more. Where do I start?


We’re often asked by White colleagues who want to become better allies where they can start. Here are a few suggestions and a resource list.


1. Start with your own research.


Research is less about becoming knowledgeable and more about approaching relationship-building with a good mindset. It will help you understand your unconscious biases and cultivate the openness you’ll need to act respectfully. See our resource list below to get started.


2. Develop a “learning attitude”


Get ready to listen and reflect! Be prepared to hear difficult truths about other people’s experiences and yourself. Be aware of your own reaction to what you’re hearing and learn how to respond constructively. Are you feeling defensive or personally attacked? Understand that this is not easy work. 


3. Go to Indigenous events


Rather than inviting Indigenous people to come to your events or partner on your projects, you can learn by going out to hear speakers, attend demonstrations, visit pow wows and explore the work of  Indigenous artists.


A few things to keep in mind when attending events:

  • Some events or spaces may only be for Indigenous people. Often promotional materials will specify this, but if you’re in doubt, asking is better than assuming.
  • Ask before taking photos or videos. Taking pictures of sacred items and ceremonies is generally considered disrespectful. The same is true for touching any regalia or ceremonial items.
  • Learn about Indigenous protocols, such as working with elders and offering tobacco.

Questions and concepts to take on the path

  • What is my motivation for doing this? Who benefits?
  • How does my social location (race, gender, economic status, age, physical and mental health) affect how I see any given situation? How might that situation look different from another perspective?
  • It's okay to make mistakes, it's part of learning something new
  • Indigenous nations and individuals are diverse, not everyone will follow the same protocols, use the same language or have the same opinions.
  • Don't assume you know. Ask.
  • Nothing for us, without us

 

BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour)


Sometimes the focus of antiracist work is on Black and Indigenous people as opposed to other racialized groups. Racism is not monolithic and people of different identities will experience racism differently. Research has shown that Black and Indigenous people tend to be the racialized groups most impacted by food insecurity, poverty and police violence.

 

Settlers/guests who are not from European backgrounds may have a different relationship to Indigenous people than White Europeans and a different analysis of Canada's colonial history and current situation. They may also come from painful colonial and racist contexts, but continue to be guests on these lands.   

 


Resources

 

We hear from Elders that everything is connected, not separate as in Eurocentric thinking. Sorting resources into categories is a little odd in that light, and you’ll find that many of the resources below cross many themes.


If you’re not sure where to start, begin with some of the resources on decolonizing. They will help you approach and process what you find in the other links.


For a list of Indigenous gardens and organizations, see  http://torontourbangrowers.org/indigenous-gardens-and-organizations


Becoming an Ally/ Decolonizing


http://unistoten.camp/no-pipelines/resources/allyship/


https://4rsyouth.ca/land-back-what-do-we-mean/ - how to be an ally in land reclamation 


Unsettling the Settler Within Paulette Regan https://www.ubcpress.ca/asset/9215/1/9780774817776.pdf


http://activehistory.ca/2020/02/exposing-the-settler-playbook-responses-to-shutdowncanada-in-historical-context/  - some common tactics that non-Indigenous people use to maintain the status quo and deny privilege


Whitewashed Hope - a comparison of Indigenous world views to regenerative agriculture and permaculture 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1er9ixhlZWmwNgywzKPNPuGVfrM5KjeRBdVMiIsjtLUM/edit


http://www.groundworkforchange.org/what-is-decolonization.html list of readings and videos


In the spirit of needing to heal ourselves before becoming good allies or accomplices: https://shelterforce.org/2019/03/12/why-we-must-first-be-well-before-we-can-do-the-work-of-the-people/


For more examples of challenging White supremacy, privilege and fragility, see http://torontourbangrowers.org/dismantling-anti-black-racism-2

 

 


Land and water

 

https://redpaper.yellowheadinstitute.org/ - Land Back report on how Canada dispossesses Indigenous people from the land and what communities are doing to get it back


https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-indigenous-communities-in-atlantic-canada-create-water-authority-to/


http://www.waterallies.com/ - settler/ally UofT research group on water – research, building alliances and promoting strategies to protect water


https://4rsyouth.ca/land-back-what-do-we-mean/


https://indigenouslandstewardshipto.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/the_indigenous_environmental_history_of.pdf Indigenous environmental history of Toronto by Jon Johnson


Land as pedagogy: Nishnaabeg intelligence and rebellious transformation by

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/des/article/view/22170

 


https://nonprofitquarterly.org/fire-forests-and-our-lands-an-indigenous-ecological-perspective/ - fire ecology


City of Toronto Indigenous placemaking report 2017 https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2017/aa/bgrd/backgroundfile-108701.pdf


https://queertheland.org/ - Queer the Land is a Seattle-based collaborative project grounded in the self-determination of queer, trans, and two spirit Black/indigenous/people of color (QT2BIPOC) and the vision of collectively owning land and labor.


Indigenous food sovereignty


Dawn Morrison defines Indigenous Food Sovereignty https://www.indigenousfoodsystems.org/food-sovereignty


Food Secure Canada discussion paper on Indigenous food sovereignty https://foodsecurecanada.org/resources-news/newsletters/discussion-papers-peoples-food-policy


FSC has an Indigenous Circle for Indigenous people and non-Indigenous allies to share, strategize and act on Indigenous food sovereignty https://foodsecurecanada.org/community-networks/indigenous-circle


http://creatorsgarden.blogspot.com/ & https://www.facebook.com/CreatorsGarden/- Joseph Pitawanakwat shares teachings about plants, place and health through blog postings and videos



https://foodmattersmanitoba.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Urban-Indigenous-Food-Access-Final-Report-March2020.pdf

 

Treaties, territories and self-determination


https://native-land.ca/ international map with territories, languages, treaties


http://www.groundworkforchange.org/aboriginal-title-land-and-water-rights.html


https://nandogikendan.com/treaties/


https://www.firstpeopleslaw.com/ articles on current legal initiatives defending and advancing Indigenous peoples' Aboriginal title, rights and Treaty rights


https://firststoryblog.wordpress.com/ exploring the Indigenous history of Toronto


https://sidait-atris.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/atris_online/home-accueil.aspx  - Government of Canada database of treaties searchable by keyword, location or postal code.


https://www.canada.ca/en/department-justice/news/2017/07/realizing_a_nation-to-nationrelationshipwiththeindigenouspeoples.html - address by Jody Wilson-Raybould, MP on steps needed for true reconciliation       


https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDM3712063&R=3712063 Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada is available at the Toronto Public Library


Land Acknowledgements


https://native-land.ca/territory-acknowledgement/


https://locallove.ca/issues/what-are-land-acknowledgements-and-why-do-they-matter/#.XlfFCKhKhdi


Key Documents

 

Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) http://www.trc.ca/– exhibits, links to reports, teaching resources

TRC Calls to Action http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf


https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/i-couldnt-forget-reflections-on-truth-and-reconciliation - author Lee Maracle’s reflection on the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission


National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit people https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/ - final report and calls to action, plus stories, art and video submissions from contributors


http://www.groundworkforchange.org/the-royal-proclamation-the-constitution-the-charter-of-rights-and-freedoms.html


The Canadian government knew about the conditions in residential schools as early as 1907 with the  Bryce Report https://fncaringsociety.com/sites/default/files/dr._peter_henderson_bryce_information_sheet.pdf


Canadian Human Rights Tribunal finds Canadian government discriminates against Indigenous children https://fncaringsociety.com/sites/default/files/Information%20Sheet%20re%20CHRT%20Decision.pdf


United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/declaration-on-the-rights-of-indigenous-peoples.html - text available in multiple languages.


Canada has removed its original objection to UNDRIP but has not yet passed UNDRIP into law https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/trudeau-undrip-bill-1.5383755


https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/8f73-tarp-final-report2011.pdf Toronto Aboriginal Research Project The TARP Report is described as the largest and most comprehensive study of Aboriginal people in Toronto ever conducted. With a sample of over 1,400 individuals, 14 topics studied and seven methodologies utilized - including life histories.


Other key reports and historical documents are listed at https://www.kairosblanketexercise.org/resources/


Language


https://ojibwe.lib.umn.edu


https://ojibwe.net/lessons/beginner/the-sound-of-our-language/ pronunciation of Anishnaabowin


https://ogimaamikana.tumblr.com./ The Ogimaa Mikana Project is an effort to restore Anishinaabemowin place-names to the streets, avenues, roads, paths, and trails of Gichi Kiiwenging (Toronto) - transforming a landscape that often obscures or makes invisible the presence of Indigenous peoples.


https://indigenousstudies.utoronto.ca/ckq/   Ciimaan/Kahuwe’yá/Qajaq language initiative


https://www.noslangues-ourlanguages.gc.ca/en/ressources-resources/autochtones-aboriginals/apprentissage-learning-eng - Indigenous languages across Canada


Protocols


https://www.cbc.ca/parents/learning/view/powwow-guide - attending powwows


https://www.oise.utoronto.ca/deepeningknowledge/Teacher_Resources/Curriculum_Resources_(by_subjects)/Social_Sciences_and_Humanities/Elders.html - working with elders


Sema (tobacco): 

https://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/aec/pdfs/TEACHINGS%20ON%20SEMEH_Tobacco.pdf and https://tobaccowise.cancercareontario.ca/en


Two Spirited People




In the news


1492 Land Back Lane


Six Nations Land Defenders have mobilized to stop the the Mackenzie Meadows housing development project bordering the town of Caledonia. Mackenzie Meadows is one of several housing developments within the area that are directly violating the sovereignty of the Haudenosaunee. Land defenders have faced violence from the police, arrests and court injunctions ordering them to stop blockading the development site. 


https://ca.gofundme.com/f/legal-fund-1492-land-back-lane

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1656879034481566


Indigenous responses to COVID


https://ndncollective.org/covid-19/ - database of resources


https://ndncollective.org/indigenizing-and-decolonizing-community-care-in-response-to-COVID-19/


Wet’suwet’en land defence


A transcript of Audrey Huntley’s talk at a demonstration in Toronto on February 22, 2020 explains the importance of defending land and makes links to violence against women, children, trans and 2 spirited people.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-in-sacred-tyendinaga-an-affirmation-of-the-spirit-and-significance-of/


Multimedia


https://nandogikendan.com/treaty-violation-lessons/ - multimedia education site with an abundance of links, art and discussion questions


Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada has short essays from Indigenous contributors of many nations on a wide range of topics. Some content is online https://indigenouspeoplesatlasofcanada.ca/ The full volumes complete with maps can be taken out from Toronto Public Library branches https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDM3712063&R=3712063


https://www.redressproject.org/exhibitions/ - multimedia art by artist Jaime Black highlighting murdered and missing Indigenous women


https://walkingeaglenews.com/ political satire


Earth to Tables Legacies https://earthtotables.org/ videos, photo essays and facilitation guides documenting intergenerational and intercultural exchanges between farmers, food activists and academics in Mexico, Six Nations and Canada.


App for Indigenous history in Toronto https://firststoryblog.wordpress.com/


https://moccasinidentifier.com - promotes public awareness of significant cultural historical sites and the ancestral presence of First Nations, Metis and Indigenous Communities.


http://activehistory.ca/remember-i-resist-i-redraw/ posters


https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/des/index  Decolonization: Indigeneity Education & Society online journal – issues on water and immigration and decolonization


http://leftycartoons.com/2008/10/09/the-story-of-bob-and-race/


Indigenous Circle panel on Stratford theatre https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHzm7sbJ6Ck&t=5015s


http://www.groundworkforchange.org/having-crucial-conversations.html - videos


https://www.epl.ca/blogs/post/indigenous-stories-and-reconciliation/ 10 books to read from Edmonton Public Library

 

Music


Just a few artists: Leonard Sumner * A Tribe Called Red * Snotty Nose Rez Kids

Supaman * Iskwe * Kelly Fraser * Buffy Sainte Marie * Jeremy Dutcher * Tanya Tagaq

 

https://www.indigenousmusicawards.com/ for more ideas