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TRC CTAs 43-45 & 47: Land from an Indigenous perspective

Day 11 of sharing the 94 Calls to Action (CTAs) from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Trailer of Waniska, a film by Reconciliation Education Canada.

This coming Monday, June 21, 2021, is National Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Canada. So it’s coincidentally appropriate that we’ve reached the Reconciliation CTAs in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report.

Have you ever heard a land acknowledgment spoken? Perhaps at a meeting or conference you attended. I’ve been hearing them over the last few years, but it’s only in the last 12 months that I’ve intentionally sought out the meaning and significance behind them.

There’s a lot to say about Indigenous worldviews on land, for which I encourage you to watch the full documentary by The National Centre for Collaboration in Indigenous Education and First Nations University of Canada, available here: “Waniska - An Awakening of Indigenous Knowledge”. It doesn’t teach you how to do a land acknowledgment; in 30 minutes, it begins to share how integrated the land (and what settlers might call “nature”) are into Indigenous living, culture, healing – everything.

With that perspective, when I read CTA #45 – “Repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius” – I understand it to go far beyond geography or territorial claims. When colonizers took land away from Indigenous peoples, or confined them to certain lands, they didn’t just take away a piece of property. It’s not the same as if you or I got evicted from our house.

Land is fundamental to Indigenous way of life. It’s steeped in their knowledge, and how that knowledge is passed on. It’s how they obtained food, medicines, and shelter. It’s core to their worship and spiritual practices, their very relationships with the land and each other.

Taking land away from Indigenous peoples, or taking the people away from their land, leads to loss of identity, culture, and spirit.

Since I'm not Indigenous, I’m sure that everything I just shared is flawed and doesn’t represent the fullest or most accurate picture of what land really means. I apologize for any misinterpretation or offense I may have caused. Please let me know if I have, so I can learn and build a deeper understanding and knowledge. I’d be grateful for that.

Again, I encourage you to watch all the films from Reconciliation Education, and find other ways to educate yourself. Native Friendship Centres are a great place to start, and I have collected some resources here on this site as well.


Share your stories and comments.

As you think about land and reconciliation, what actions will you commit to today?

Add a comment on our Facebook page, join our Facebook group to start a discussion, or contact me to share your story.


Progress Updates

Per this CBC site which reports on progress against the 94 CTAs – here are the updates as of June 18, 2021 on today's CTAs:

#43, 44 – In progress, projects underway. The Liberal government has passed Bill C-15, legislation that will begin the process of bringing Canadian law into alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP).

The bill was tabled in the House of Commons on Dec 3, 2020, passed third reading in the House of Commons in May 2021 and passed third reading in the Senate in June. It awaits royal assent.

The bill requires the federal government to prepare an action plan within two years of the bill's passage to achieve the declaration's objectives, and to table an annual report detailing progress made.

#45 – Not started. The federal government has not created a Royal Proclamation of Reconciliation, issued by the Crown, nor has it formally repudiated the concepts of the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius.

It has also not formally adopted UNDRIP, renewed or established treaty relationships or formally reconciled Indigenous and Crown constitutional legal orders. It has, however, committed to do so.

#47 – Not started. No level of government has formally repudiated concepts such as the Doctrine of Discovery, nor has any reformed laws, policies and strategies as a result.


Links to resources and charitable organizations:

Indian Residential Schools 24/7 Crisis Line:


Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action:

Progress update on CTAs (by the CBC):

Nisitohtamowin Indigenous culture 1-hour e-learning (FREE until July 15, 2021):

Reconciliation Education and First Nations University of Canada Film Series and Online Course:

Memorial Register of Children Lost to Residential Schools:

"We Were Children", National Film Board documentary on Residential Schools, conveyed through the eyes of two children who survived. Available from Amazon Prime and NFB in French and English. May also be available through your local library.

Petition for National Day of Mourning:

Indian Residential School Survivors Society:

Orange Shirt Day:


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