Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/1/2012 (3606 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
AS talks between the prime minister, 11 cabinet ministers and the Assembly of First Nations get underway in Ottawa, some observers say they're worried today's meeting won't produce any concrete change.
But, that doesn't mean nothing is happening.
Many aboriginals across the country aren't waiting for the federal government to intervene -- they're taking concrete steps to force change in their communities and in Canada. Here are three Manitobans who are making a difference.
Phil Fontaine, former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations (1997-2000, 2003-09)
Fontaine, who is Anishinabe from the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, has been a force in the aboriginal community since the 1970s. He was chief of Sagkeeng First Nation, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (a political force in its own right) and was elected to lead the Assembly of First Nations three times.
Fontaine, himself a survivor of Canada's residential school system, was instrumental in negotiating the $5.1-billion residential-school settlement, which included compensation for survivors, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, an education fund, healing resources and commemoration funding.
Justice Murray Sinclair, chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Sinclair has been criss-crossing the country, hearing testimony from residential school survivors and others affected by the legacy of the government-sponsored schools, where 150,000 aboriginal children spent time after being taken from their homes. He has spoken publicly about the need to bring out the truth about the schools, which for 150 years operated on a government mandate to "kill the Indian in the child," in the famous words of Duncan Campbell Scott, the head of the Department of Indian Affairs from 1913 to 1932.
One of the mandates of the commission, which Sinclair has said is imperative, is the education of non-aboriginals about the lasting impact of residential schools on all aboriginal people living today. He has said responsibility for the future lies with both aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians educating themselves about the history of this country. Sinclair, who was the first aboriginal judge in Manitoba, and only the second in Canada, chaired Manitoba's Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in 1988 and, in 2001, was appointed to Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench, which saw him writing widely reported, precedent-setting judgments.
Wab Kinew, musician, TV/Radio host, CBC
Kinew is the host of CBC's The 8th Fire, a four-part miniseries about aboriginal-Canadian relations, which sheds light on our shared history with an aim to moving forward together.
Twitter lit up after the first episode aired in early January, with comments from First Nations people and non-aboriginal Canadians, thanking Kinew and his team for taking a stab at explaining this 500-year-old relationship.
Kinew's approach is light, but straight -- the show doesn't pull punches and lets facts speak for themselves. It dispels the myth First Nations people don't pay any taxes, teaches Canadians about the Indian Act and discusses the far-reaching impact of residential schools.
Perhaps best of all, the show highlights aboriginal people who are working for positive change in their communities. The young, charismatic Anishinabe musician first hit the hip-hop scene in 2007, winning accolades for his album, Live by the Drum at the 2009 Aboriginal People's Choice Awards.
-- Postmedia News