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Ways to learn about Indigenous Peoples this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and beyond

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Ways to learn about Indigenous Peoples this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and beyond

New Canadians (inputs by Gautam Viswanathan)

From sea to sea, all of Canada sits upon the territories of the Indigenous Peoples: the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit, who have suffered through many hardships that have left painful memories across generations. Among the many efforts towards reconciliation and building an inclusive home for all is the observance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation every September 30 – to spread awareness of the unjust practices carried out against Indigenous communities, honour the survivors of Canada’s residential school system and remember the children who never returned home.

As individuals who call this land home, let’s take time to reflect, and learn about the Indigenous Peoples, their rich and diverse history, cultures, voices, and stories. Here are some ways:

Explore material on Indigenous Peoples in Canada

From books to online materials, official reports, and documentaries, here are some of the ways you can educate yourself.

Ways to learn about Indigenous communities in Canada.
The First Nations, Inuit, and Métis have their own traditions. Image courtesy: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.

Take a course on Indigenous practices and culture

Some Canadian universities deliver short courses that explore the history and perspective of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. Attending these courses is free, and for a small fee, you can also receive a certificate of completion once you’ve finished learning.

  • Indigenous Canada (by University of Alberta): This course explores the experiences of present-day Indigenous Peoples, from a historical and critical perspective, and is presented by Indigenous educators. Find out more here.
  • Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education (by University of British Columbia): The emphasis of this course is on creating environments that help strengthen relations with Indigenous peoples. Read more here.

Experience museums to understand Indigenous art and history

Indigenous artworks are a result of living cultures, making them dynamic and evolving over time, and most provinces are home to many museums that hold artworks and artifacts that will enable you to learn about Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. 

Ways to learn about Indigenous communities in Canada.
Indigenous art forms are dynamic, capturing traditions and practices through the years. Image courtesy: McCord Stewart Museum

The Art Gallery of Ontario holds more than 5,000 pieces of Indigenous art, while the National Gallery of Canada hosts another 800. Also make sure you check out the Indigenous Art Centre Gallery in Gatineau, Quebec, which features more than 4,300 Indigenous artworks. 

Over in Montreal, the McCord Steward Museum displays over 16,000 archaeological and historical objects spanning 12,000 years of history. Meanwhile, in Manitoba, the Winnipeg Art Gallery – Qaumajuq holds in trust close to 14,000 Inuit artifacts, including carvings, drawings, textiles, prints, and new media. 

Attend Indigenous festivals that are open to the public

To experience Indigenous cultures, dresses, traditions, languages, and food, you can attend festivals all across Canada throughout the year. Here are some online calendars: Indigenous Tourism BC, Indigenous events and celebrations in Ontario, and Indigenous events – Quebec.

What’s more, at such events, you can also buy Indigenous crafts to support local businesses, watch performances by local artists and communities, and appreciate Indigenous culture and its evolution through the years.

Here’s an additional resource to learn about National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a newcomer to Canada

(Courtesy: Refugee 613 and Circles for Reconciliation)

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