Titled The Promise of Reconciliation: Will This Time be Different? the event was also led by David Newhouse, a director and professor of Indigenous Studies at Trent University’s Chanie Wenjack School of Indigenous Studies and an adjunct professor in SPPA at Carleton.
Among the attendees was Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, as well as other MPs and top bureaucrats.
The presentation looked at the evolving relationship between Canada and First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples from the 1800s to present day. Assimilation polices threaded through Canada’s history were outlined, along with the magnitude of issues to address.
Graham and Newhouse laid out a potential agenda for the federal government to pursue on the path to reconciliation. The prime minister’s commitment to implement the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is just the start of a long-term, national project that will take generations to complete.
The solution, they said, is multi-faceted and needs multiple strategies and alliances. The event ended on a hopeful note that Canada has entered a period of truly renewing the relationship with Indigenous peoples.
The Big Thinking lectures raise awareness of the importance of social sciences and humanities research in dealing with contemporary issues.