The final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was released in 2015. It included several calls to action directed toward the media. Since then, the Rat Creek Press (RCP) board has formed a Community Engagement Committee to implement these action ideas.
A message from Karen Mykietka, RCP publisher, appeared in the January 2018 issue stating the paper’s intention to respond by including more Indigenous-related content (www.ratcreek.org.) As well, the front page of the June issue contains the statement “Published on Treaty Six Territory” below the line that lists the seven communities served by the paper.
Treaty 6 territories include most of central Saskatchewan and Alberta. One of the first steps in reconciliation, according to the TRC, is to recognize that each of us living within the territory has obligations to mutual understanding and respect. These obligations were the intent of the initial agreement, where First Nations and Métis individuals would cede their lands in return for certain protections and rights. The Crown, on behalf of all Canadians, agreed to respect Indigenous histories, languages, cultures, and traditions. History has shown that successive governments in Canada violated these rights with the creation of residential schools and later with the Sixties Scoop.
Now is the time to write another narrative. Indigenous people in Edmonton are students, business owners, educators, artists, political leaders, and full participants in the city’s life. They are reclaiming their lost and suppressed traditional knowledge and languages. Yet, many still face the challenges of intergenerational post-traumatic stress, poverty, and systemic racism.
By acknowledging that our communities are situated on Treaty 6 Territory, we demonstrate our commitment to the TRC’s call for a new vision for Canada: “one that fully embraces Aboriginal peoples’ right to self-determination within and in partnership with a viable Canadian sovereignty.”*
*TRC Report, p.184
Featured Image: Treaty 6 territory spans Alberta and Saskatchewan. | Themightyquill, GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons