Truth and Reconciliation
For communities across the country, Canada 150 commemorations are taking shape. At Chatelech Secondary School in November, Diana Robertson, co-producer of the Sechelt Arts Festival, together with Sechelt Mayor Bruce Milne, and Kerry Mahlman, School District 46 Principal for Aboriginal Programs and Services, announced their successful grant application for almost $100,000 to produce S’yiyaya (pronounced See-ya-ya), which means “family” in the Shíshálh Nation language, to celebrate Canada 150.
The community is embarking on a year of story sharing between Shíshálh elders, non-aboriginal early settlers and young people. These stories will be shared through multiple creative mediums with the support of professional artists. The Shíshálh have a well-respected oral tradition. Post-contact settlers on the coast have their own proud stories to share as well. Capturing these stories is a way for young people to learn and to lead in the community and the country through reconciliation. Aboriginal and non-aboriginal, we have a shared history. It is both dark and light.
With regard to the broader truth and reconciliation process, the work of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is well under way. Five commissioners lead this independent enquiry headed by the Chief Commissioner, the Honourable Marion Buller of the Mistawasis First Nation in Saskatchewan. Chief Commissioner Buller was appointed the first female First Nations judge in BC in 1994, and sits on the Provincial Court bench.
Canada is committed to real reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and this national enquiry is a key step on this path.
With regard to Canada’s north, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, announced the appointment of Mary Simon as the Minister’s Special Representative responsible for leading engagements and providing advice to the Government of Canada on the development of a new Shared Arctic Leadership Model.
As a distinguished former diplomat and life-long Inuit leader, Ms. Simon’s expertise will help inform Canada’s policy on the implementation of commitments made in the US-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy and Arctic Leadership. Ms. Simon’s work will reflect renewed Inuit-to-Crown and Nation-to-Nation relationships, and will be grounded in a vision of sustainable development of the Arctic region.
As always, I welcome your comments and feedback on our government’s work. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by our community office in Horseshoe Bay, 6367 Bruce Street 604-913-2660.
Pam Goldsmith-Jones, MP
West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country