A year of change, progress
- EFN Staff | February 20, 2020
I think we are ready for 2020. Lots of things are lined up for progress to happen. This situation can be credited to the law of the land and the Calls to Action given to us by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Economically, the duty to consult and accommodate has opened up the door for Indigenous communities across the country to participate in the natural resource wealth that Canada was built on. No longer on the inside looking out at companies reaping the wealth of our territories, economic development arms and partnerships are taking their place at the table and the big resource developers are encouraging engagement through employment and subcontracting.
Conversely, the duty to consult has also allowed many First Nations to say no to development that they believe will adversely impact their territory. That is their choice. Finally having that choice and jurisdiction is powerful. And that is a good thing whatever side of development you are on.
Call to Action #92 also called on all businesses to take Aboriginal awareness training and encouraged employment of Indigenous people and the development of an Indigenous supply chain. This is happening all across the province.
The TRC also called for improvements to the education and child welfare systems. This one wasn’t easy, but with Bill C-92 confirming First Nations jurisdiction of child welfare, expect to see more First Nations go the way of Cowessess First Nation by creating their own legislation and taking control of their own children. This one was long overdue.
Day school and 60’s scoop settlements are in progress and the survivors of the residential schools, day schools and the Scoop can start or continue their healing paths.
Speaking of children, we are finally seeing equal funding flow to First Nations schools. There is still a long way to go to make up for decades of underfunding but at least we are starting. Innovative curriculum like land-based learning and strong treaty and Indigenous curriculum are helping our children by seeing themselves and their history in our school work. And non-Indigenous children are learning more about our communities and history than any other generation in the history of our country. Many kids are now schooling their parents on our issues and becoming allies in this intergenerational change.
It is also impossible to not notice the cultural renaissance happening in our province. Language revival is taking place in our schools and homes. Language champs like Simon Bird and his Cree Simon Says Facebook page are making those learnings accessible and fun. Powwows, festivals and ceremony are ubiquitous. It makes you feel good.
It is the investment in our children and culture that will allow us to build our people and communities back up all the while participating in the economy like everyone else. Thank you, Justice Sinclair, Willie Littlechild and Marie Wilson. And thanks to those communities and individuals that stood up and took the fight to the courts. Thank you all for your vision and for setting us up for great things in 2020.
Speaking of 2020, it is hard to predict the future, but I can guarantee one thing. Eagle Feather News will solidify its place as the number one media outlet for all of your Indigenous news in Saskatchewan.
To take us over the top, we are thrilled to announce the addition of Betty Ann Adam to our team. Betty Ann has been a journalist for the Star Phoenix for almost 30 years. Prior to that she worked at the Saskatchewan Indian and is in my opinion the most respected Indigenous journalist in our province. She is a member of the 60’s Scoop Indigenous Society and the documentary on her story, “Birth of a Family” is a moving and insightful show on the impact of the 60’s Scoop. Betty Ann is a member of the Fond du Lac First Nation. We have recruited her to help us with editing and telling our stories. We have an agreement with the University of Regina Journalism School to publish students work and to take on two interns in 2020.
Our editor Jeanelle Mandes and Betty Ann we will be mentoring the new generation of Indigenous journalists and freelance writers we are working with so we can ensure that Indigenous stories are told properly in the province. By us and for us. I am really looking forward to seeing what unfolds in 2020. Stick with us and we will keep you informed. All the best in 2020.