Tagged ‘Reconciliation‘

This Reconciliation is for the Colonizer

Indigenous Motherhood

June 13, 2017

By Andrea Landry


“Indigenous based child-rearing in today’s generation resides in watching the restoration of unfaltering kinship in our Indigenous family systems unfold and allowing that to reside in the raising of our children with the knowing of who they are, and where they come from, wildly and unapologetically.”


Artwork by: Votan Henriquez 


This reconciliation is for the colonizer.

This settler-colonial reconciliation branded by the government is artificially sweetened with handshake photo-ops and small pockets of money buying out silence on real issues.

The fad and conversation of reconciliation that our people are playing a role in is immobilizing “leadership” and converting indigenous peoples into colonially operated marionettes.

This type of reconciliation is a distraction.

Instead of being idle no more, we are “reconciling some more” with present day Indian act agents whose hands are choking out our voices for land, water, and our children’s minds.

This type of reconciliation is for the ones who want to be “friends” with the Indians for land commodification reasoning, for the ones who whisper the words “im sorry” as they watched the priests and nuns rape our children, for the ones who shut their eyes and turned away when genocide was bleeding into their forts, for the ones who defy Treaty daily- without remorse, and it’s for the ones who beat you, apologize, and beat your daughter and their daughters in the coming years.

This type of reconciliation is for the professors at universities who are pro-Trudeau and believe “decolonizing” universities looks like mandatory Indigenous studies classes yet those very same professors still belittle, marginalize, and see themselves better than, smarter than, and superior to every indigenous student in their classes, shaming them for their brown skin and indigenous minds.

This type of reconciliation is for the professionals in work-spaces who want to aid in repairing the settler-Indigenous relationship in their work places but when an Indigenous women brings her children into that space because her sitter didn’t show up that morning, the mother will be told that her children need to leave because they’re laughter doesn’t line up with colonial workplace standards.

This type of reconciliation helps elderly white woman carry their groceries to their vehicle, but later follows a single indigenous woman with 3 children in the store, aisle after aisle, under the suspicion that she will shoplift.

This type of reconciliation will have dollars for moccasin making and small “cultural” events, but those accounts will be “out of money” the moment those events begin to engage in conversations and action around indigenous liberation, sovereignty, and nationhood.

This type of reconciliation sponsors powwows through companies like Potash and Shell, hoping the 1000 first place special will buy out a few hundred acres of indigenous land more easily.

This type of reconciliation claims residential schools are over but maintains a superior and oppressive power dynamic between settler adults and indigenous children at its own convenience.

This type of reconciliation declares “no foul play” to the bodies of young indigenous youth found in the riverbanks in this country’s most racist cities but later claims they celebrate the lives of indigenous peoples.

This type of reconciliation organizes a national inquiry for missing and murdered indigenous women but neglects to do any actual work by configuring the timeframe to benefit the colonizer and showing that bringing justice to murdered indigenous women is something that can go on summer vacation.

This type of reconciliation invents a “new nation to nation relationship” and teaches our people that the only way we can access our treaty rights is if we have a status card, completely negating from the truth that we, as indigenous peoples, do not need a new “nation to nation relationship,” as ours is with the crown “as long as the sun shines, grass grows, and water flows,” and those status cards have nothing to do with our treaty rights.

This type of reconciliation was born by the colonizer’s TRC and will die on the very same shelves as those documents in the halls and walls of colonial buildings. For their benefit.

This type of reconciliation claims they are not racist but makes degrading comments about the braids on your sons and the skin of your daughters in public spaces.

This type of reconciliation will say it wants to bring justice to our women but is raping the very land our mothers were birthed on for generations.

This type of reconciliation will say there are no funds for following through with Jordan’s principle, none for the lack of clean drinking water in communities, zero for decreasing the price of food in northern communities, and nothing for the mouldy housing and schools that indigenous children must learn in everyday, but will spend half a billion dollars on Canada 150 – a birthday party founded and based upon genocide.

This type of reconciliation claims to “love” indigenous peoples but expects your indigenous child to sing “oh Canada” in their classroom every morning, standing up.

This type of reconciliation is “making space” for indigenous peoples in writing and editorials but later compiles money together to create an appropriation prize.

This type of reconciliation is “putting an end” to indigenous young people killing themselves but only provides enough money for communities to bring in guest speakers and concerts rather than full time therapists equipped with all the tools needed to aid young people in full-blown crisis.

This type of reconciliation “seeks” to decrease the numbers of indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system but will place a young indigenous male in solitary confinement for 4 years for no real reason other than being an Indian in “Canada.”

This type of reconciliation wants to build better relationships with indigenous peoples but is building better ways to commit treason, genocide, colonization, and prejudice with nice hair and a smile of lies.

This reconciliation is for the colonizers.

This is a time of pseudo-reconciliation for continued colonization.

This reconciliation is colonization, disguised with dollar signs and white-skinned handshakes.

This reconciliation is not our reconciliation.


The only reconciliation that exists for us, as Indigenous nations, is the reconciliation we need to find within ourselves and our communities, for agreeing and complying to this madness for so long.

The only reconciliation that exists for us, is the reconciliation needed to forgive our families, our loved ones, for acting like the colonizer.

The only reconciliation we need. Is a reconciliation that doesn’t involve white skinned handshakes and five dollar handouts for our lands.

The only reconciliation we need is indigenous reconciliation. Free of money. Handshakes. Photo-ops. Inquiries with summer vacations. The continued rape of our women, our girls, our lands, and our babies. Highway of tears and roadways of fears. The continued murder of our women, our girls, our lands, and our babies. Free of shaming our boys out for being indigenous boys with indigenous hair. Free of shaming our girls for being indigenous girls with indigenous skin. Free of support for the colonizer’s version of indigenous “culture,” yet no support money for liberation. Free of supremacy. Trickery. Fake it til you make it syndrome. Indian agents. Sir John A Macdonald governments disguised as Trudeau. Colonial chiefs. Free of the continued manipulation, colonization, degradation, and humiliation of Indigenous people. Free of colonially written documents claiming to “save” us, viewing us always, as victims. Free of the lyrics of Oh Canada for breakfast for our children.

Instead of us living in times of reconciliation, we are living in times of recolonization.

And it will only happen if we allow it.

This reconciliation is for the colonizer. And we need to leave this conversation.

We need to reconcile with ourselves. With our families. With our nations.

For our babies.

Because I want our children to to learn about our own liberation, rather than the colonizer’s reconciliation.

And I want our children to know that
Indigenous liberation will always overthrow colonial reconciliation.

Because having our homelands is more important to me than a photo-op and handshake with government officials named Trudeau.


[Andrea Landry is Anishinaabe from Pawgwasheeng (Pays Plat First Nation) but currently resides on Treaty Six territory in Poundmaker Cree Nation. She holds a Masters in Communications and Social Justice from the University of Windsor. Full bio.]

WATCH: Recognition Politics | A Lecture on Resurgence by Taiaiake Alfred

Video Published December 12, 2015


Taiaiake Alfred:

7:50 “The essence of being part of a resurgence movement comes out of that kind of feeling; it’s rooted, it’s accountable, and it’s transformative. […] Those are the three things that I think define the difference between resurgence and the other alternatives out there for what decolonization and colonization [are]; basically recognition politics, and, hate to say it, reconciliation….”

10:03 “Recognition politics is basically the idea that is driving Aboriginal rights, land claims and so forth. It didn’t start out that way. It started out as a strong nationhood movement to get our land back, to have our nations, our laws recognized, and to have them enlivened again and to have them govern our people and govern the lives of our people.”

“But through process of politics and so forth it’s come to be a process of recognizing Indigenous peoples only to the extent that they conform to the basic ideas of the colonial society. And so what you have is an idea that when you have a land claim, or a self-government claim, or you’re negotiating some kind of agreement, or the Supreme Court is considering our presence here and our rights, it’s more a recognition of the fact that we are now a part of Canada, and a recognition of our fact being here, but not any substantial transformative importance to that decision.

And so Glen Coulthard does a really good job of elaborating the problems with this and also I think builds on the notion of this idea of co-optation. About how Canada has structured the whole relationship, the decolonizing relationship in Canada to make it very enticing for people to want to follow that pathway rather than to stand on the strong principles that our ancestors defended our nations on. And so it’s not only intellectually seductive to think that … to be offered the idea of inclusion, recognition, validation, and so forth, but it’s also financially motivated as well in the sense that there’s a lot of programming dollars and a lot of money behind the whole process structured into the negotiation of these recognitions. That’s one element. I’m not going to focus too much on it. Just in jist that’s what it is.

The reconciliation. I think everybody is becoming very familiar with that. I mean when we talk about reconciliation, it kind of builds on recognition, on that whole structure of recognition and Aboriginal rights and so forth. It’s oriented towards inclusion too but in my reading of reconciliation too, it’s Canada’s effort to assuage the guilt of colonization. It’s Canada’s effort to turn the page on Canadian history. It’s Canada’s effort to make the suffering of residential schools the centrepiece of an effort to make us forget that our existence is rooted on the land, in nations and that we are collectivities and that there is a vast injustice still present.

Whether or not individuals are compensated or healed from the experiences and the horrible experiences they had in residential school, it’s Canada’s attempt to make it about cultural survival and healing, which are two things which no one is going to complain about and say shouldn’t happen, but when you stop there and you don’t talk about the land and you only talk about cultural revitalization and healing, it’s a further injustice. Because the root of all of our problems as Indigenous people, as we’ve experienced them growing up in our communities and even in the urban context, is dispossession.

I remember when I worked, I’ve said this many times in public but I always will every time I talk about this and give credit to Rosalee Tizya, a Yukon elder from Old Crow, who used to tell all of us who worked at the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the young people at that time in the nineties, that it’s all about the land. It’s all about the land. So we were talking then about Aboriginal rights, self-government, the origins basically: the nascent idea of reconciliation was hatched in the Royal Commission in all the discussion forums that we had there and recommendations that were put forward. She would always remind us that it’s all about the land. Don’t forget that.

Don’t let them convince you that social justice is a substitute for land justice. Don’t let them convince you that programming dollars and being accepted and being allowed to dress and sing and do your ceremonies and all that is a substitute for your nation’s laws being the laws that govern your territory again. Don’t let that happen.

And not many of us paid attention at that time and I think that now is the time where if we don’t pay attention to that message, everything could be lost for our nations. It’s getting to that crucial point where there’s so little left of our nationhood as it manifests in reality on the ground, on the land, and there’s so much of an overwhelming threat of assimilation through laws and being overwhelmed culturally and all of these things happening to our people and our future generations that if we don’t pay attention to our connection to the land and our rootedness in it intellectually, spiritually and physically, we may not be talking about indigenous nationhood a generation from now. We may not be able to talk about it because it might be a memory for our nations, for our people, for the next generations coming up. So it’s imperative of us younger people, especially younger people, to understand how important and then to begin to live that in a very serious way.”



[Taiaiake Alfred (Gerald R. Alfred), born and raised in the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, is a faculty member at the University of Victoria, and is also the Program Director of the Indigenous Governance Program at the University. His scholarly work focuses particularly on Native nationalism, Iroquois history, and indigenous traditions of government.]