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Professional Communicators and the Path to Reconciliation: A Guide to Actioning the 94 Calls

By Matisse Hamel-Nelis on September 26, 2023

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Among the various visual elements illustrating Indigenous cultures, the circle is at the centre, which represents being together in spirit of reconciliation. The orange colour represents truth-telling and healing. The pathway represents the road to reconciliation. First Nations, Inuit and Métis are represented in the image.

In recent years, the emphasis on reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities has intensified, with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report (TRC) providing a significant roadmap. The 94 Calls to Action outlined in the TRC are imperative for policymakers and professionals in various sectors, including communication.

Professional communicators play a pivotal role in shaping narratives, disseminating information, and influencing perceptions. Their active participation in fostering reconciliation cannot be overstated. 

So, how can we do this? 

Here’s a guide for professional communicators to understand and act on the 94 Calls to Action. I hope this helps.

Among the various visual elements illustrating Indigenous cultures, the circle is at the centre, which represents being together in spirit of reconciliation. The orange colour represents truth-telling and healing. The pathway represents the road to reconciliation. First Nations, Inuit and Métis are represented in the image.

Child Welfare (Calls 1-5) 

Communicators can:

  • Share stories that highlight the importance of keeping Indigenous families together.
  • Educate audiences about child separation’s historical and current impacts and the residential school system.

Education (Calls 6-12) 

Communicators can:

  • Use platforms to promote the importance of Indigenous language revitalization.
  • Share success stories from Indigenous communities, schools, and students.
  • Advocate for age-appropriate curriculum on Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Language and Culture (Calls 13-17)

Communicators can:

  • Promote Indigenous arts, literature, and cultural initiatives.
  • Engage in campaigns that push for the preservation and teaching of Indigenous languages.

Health (Calls 18-24)

Communicators can:

  • Shed light on the health disparities faced by Indigenous communities.
  • Promote wellness programs and initiatives tailored for Indigenous Peoples.

Justice (Calls 25-42)

Communicators can:

  • Convey the importance of reducing the overrepresentation of Indigenous individuals in custody.
  • Share stories that push for more Indigenous representation in the justice system.

Canadian Governments and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Calls 43-44)

Communicators can:

  • Advocate for fully adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Highlight successful collaborations between the UN and Indigenous communities.

Royal Proclamation and Covenant of Reconciliation (Calls 45-47)

Communicators can:

  • Educate the public about treaties, their significance, and the Crown’s commitment.
  • Use storytelling to bridge understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

Settlement Agreement Parties and the United Nations (Calls 48-49)

Communicators can:

  • Advocate for fully adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Highlight successful collaborations between the UN and Indigenous communities.

Equity for Aboriginal People in the Legal System (Calls 50-52) 

Communicators can:

  • Inform audiences about the systemic barriers faced by Indigenous individuals in the legal system.
  • Promote initiatives that aim to provide equal legal representation.

National Council for Reconciliation (Calls 53-56)

Communicators can:

  • Share developments and updates related to the National Council.
  • Engage in dialogues that drive the Council’s recommendations forward.

Professional Development and Training for Public Servants (Call 57)

Communicators can:

  • Advocate for training programs that focus on Indigenous history and rights.
  • Share testimonials of public servants who’ve benefited from such training.

Church Apologies and Reconciliation (Calls 58-61) 

Communicators can:

  • Foster an environment conducive to open dialogues between churches and Indigenous communities.
  • Spotlight churches actively participate in reconciliation efforts.

Education for Reconciliation (Calls 62-65)

Communicators can:

  • Support initiatives that integrate Indigenous wisdom into Canadian school curriculums.
  • Highlight schools and educators that are champions of this cause.

Youth Programs (Call 66)

Communicators can:

  • Showcase successful Indigenous youth programs.
  • Drive awareness about the importance of supporting Indigenous youth.

Museums and Archives (Calls 67-70)

Communicators can:

  • Collaborate with museums and archives to promote exhibitions that tell Indigenous histories accurately.
  • Engage in discussions about the importance of representation in these institutions.

Missing Children and Burial Information (Calls 71-76)

Communicators can:

  • Treat this sensitive topic with respect, ensuring the dignity of affected families.
  • Share resources and updates on efforts to address this issue.

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (Calls 77-78) 

Communicators can:

  • Regularly feature updates and insights from the National Centre.
  • Engage the public in discussions and events hosted by the Centre.

Commemoration (Calls 79-83)

Communicators can:

  • Promote national events that commemorate the legacy of residential schools.
  • Encourage public participation in these events.

Media and Reconciliation (Call 84-86) 

Communicators can:

  • Advocate for increased Indigenous representation in media.
  • Support and promote Indigenous-led media outlets.

Sports and Reconciliation (Calls 87-91) 

Communicators can:

  • Share success stories of Indigenous athletes.
  • Advocate for the inclusion of Indigenous games in multi-sport events.

Business and Reconciliation (Calls 92)

Communicators can:

  • Spotlight businesses that foster meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities.
  • Encourage businesses to respect Indigenous rights in their operations.

Newcomers to Canada (Call 93-94) 

Communicators can:

  • Develop and share resources that educate newcomers about Indigenous histories and cultures.
  • Advocate for this inclusion in the citizenship process.

Remember, professional communicators can shape narratives and bridge gaps. By aligning with the 94 Calls to Action, we can help accelerate the journey toward reconciliation, ensuring a more inclusive and understanding Canada for all.

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