Guidance from our Reconciliation Advisors
Given where Scouts Canada is in its Reconciliation journey and relationship with FNIM communities, here are some great ways you can start to make a difference:
Begin with learning about the land: Scouting begins with understanding and learning about the local land that each Scout Group takes place in.
- What is the story about the land?
- What are its names, and which group of people named it originally?
- What are your welcome practices for new and existing youth?
Re-learning about the Land
Words Matter: While the terms we use for topics and ideas are always changing, becoming familiar with respectful and representative words and vocabulary contribute to a more inclusive and self-aware Scouting culture.
Being mindful with our choice of words is a great practice to being a responsible ally! There are many layers and sides that make up who we are. Some of these qualities can be seen and some are not as visible — this is called Intersectionality. As you engage in activities throughout the year, including Pride Month and Indigenous History Month, an expanded vocabulary contributes to more inclusive conversations.
Participate in local events: A good way to learn more about communities is to experience any cultural events that are welcome to the public. Depending on where you are, look for public FNIM celebrations on your local community’s website.
Celebrate Indigenous leadership: Share the successes of Indigenous peoples across all sectors to recognize, learn about and celebrate their achievements and excellence.
This is an important step in widening the Settler perspective and narrative of Indigenous peoples; rather than only referring to one side of the Indigenous experience by feeding into the concept of ‘white saviours’ and painting Indigenous people as helpless or in need of saving, recognizing the achievements of Indigenous leaders supports the move toward authentic awareness.
Each day, Indigenous peoples succeed in breaking barriers and effecting positive change.
How do you celebrate Indigenous leadership? Here are some examples to support*:
- If you are talking about climate change or environmental advocacy like student strikes, Greta Thunberg may come to mind, but this is also an opportunity to engage in a conversation about Autumn Peltier, a 17-year-old environmental and Indigenous rights activist.
- Discussing entrepreneurship or youth-led businesses? Look no further than Mya Beaudry, the 11-year-old who launched Kokom Scrunshies to raise funds supporting her community during the first wave of COVID-19.
- To learn about women in leadership positions, RoseAnne Archibald, the first woman elected to lead the Assembly of First Nations as National Chief.
- Canada has many notable musicians and youth in the music industry. Take a moment to discuss the talent of Emma Stevens, Jeremy Dutcher and A Tribe Called Red (to name a few).
*The above is material adapted from the work of Kayla Bernard, a Mi’kmaq woman who sits on Scouts Canada’s Board of Governors and is both a Rover Scout and Scouter.
Support Indigenous-made & cultural appreciation*: When someone seeks to understand and learn about another culture in an effort to broaden their perspective and connect with others cross-culturally, here are some ways to get started:
- Buy Indigenous crafts, foods or other goods from Indigenous-owned establishments to support their business; this also avoids supporting non-Indigenous businesses that appropriate Indigenous culture for profit.
- Invite and pay an Indigenous person to teach youth about their culture.
- Attend a settler-open Pow Wow.
- Listen to or watch Indigenous-created music, TV shows or movies.
Supporting Indigenous women and girls: A report released by the RCMP revealed that the homicide rate for Indigenous women and girls is 4.5 times higher than that of all other women in Canada.
- The Moosehide Campaign is an Indigenous-led grassroots movement of men ending violence against women and children in Canada. Although Indigenous-led, its spirit and ideas transcend all Nations and people and welcomes participation from all people Canada.