Indigenous Reconciliation (What is it? Why it’s important, and HOW to do Truth and Reconciliation in Canada)

Indigenous Reconciliation (What is it? Why it’s important, and HOW to do Truth and Reconciliation in Canada)

What is indigenous reconciliation? 

If you want to understand Indigenous reconciliation - what it means, why it's important and how to actually go about truth and reconciliation with indigenous people in Canada - then this article is for you!



I’ve put together 5 STEPS To Understand Indigenous Reconciliation for you to get a really good understanding of:

  • What Reconciliation is in the simplest terms possible
  • Why reconciliation is even necessary in the first place, and why it's so important 
  • When to take action in reconciliation with indigenous people
  • Who should be involved in these actions 
  • What initial steps you can do to get a good start


The 1st step for understanding Indigenous Reconciliation is to break down what exactly is reconciliation?

What does the word reconciliation mean? Why is indigenous in front of it why are we even talking about indigenous reconciliation in the first place?

This is a really important place to start. The word "Reconciliation".

Reconciliation actually means restoring friendly relationship between two parties. The meaning of reconciliation itself implies that the relationship was working, then it stopped working. Which is interesting because many Indigenous people and communities feel as though the relationship with Europeans settlers in Canada did not begin in a friendly way that you’d want to restore back to anyways. 

“Indigenous Reconciliation” comes from the Truth & Reconciliation Commission [TRC] of Canada which is a report with 94 different “calls to action” that was launched in 2015, after years of research that formally began in 2007. 

The Truth & Reconciliation commission conducted deep research on the true events that occurred in the Indigenous Residential School System - and research that proved the horrible injustices that occurred to Indigenous people since the arrival of European settlers to Canada. 

For generations, the true history of European settlers, and the creation of the government of Canada, and the treaties with Indigenous people in Canada were all kept a secret, because of how horrendous the treatment was towards Indigenous people. 

So the term “ Indigenous reconciliation” describes non-Indigenous Canadians actually taking action on these “calls to action” in order to restore relationships with Indigenous peoples in Canada. 

Is reconciliation with indigenous people completely new to you? Are u more of a beginner intermediate or Advanced on this topic please let me know in the comments below

The 2nd step for understanding Indigenous reconciliation is to ask why people should care?, why is this even a topic that we're talking about?


Why is reconciliation relevant to you? And why should you care about reconciliation with Indigenous people?

I’m going to answer this question for non-Indigenous people - and for Indigenous peeps. 

As an Indigenous person - why should I care about reconciliation?

If you're of Indigenous background you might think hey I do not care about Truth and Reconciliation" and there might be a few reasons for that maybe it's too difficult to even think about the true history of your ancestors because it's too painful to think about or maybe you don't want to think about reconciliation because it's hard uncomfortable and you're still trying to deal with the past traumas of your ancestors and you haven't healed from iit


On the other hand… If I’m a non-Indigenous Canadian - why should I care about reconciliation?

As a non-Indigenous Canadian, caring about truth & reconciliation will help you not be stuck in a situation where you seem very ignorant and unaware.  

  • So if this Something that's important to you than caring about indigenous reconciliation and learning about what it means and how to go about it is a really good place to start .

Now this reason applies to Indigenous or non-Indigenous people and why you should care about Indigenous reconciliation 

Reconciliation is important because this nation is one that we are sharing together -  many different culture backgrounds as Canada is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world! And that’s not changing.. We share the same future


The 3rd step for understanding indigenous reconciliation is WHEN should reconciliation be a priority?

When should reconciliation be a priority for you?

Well getting started on your journey for Indigenous reconciliation begins as soon as you have a motivation or any level of Interest and participating in taking action for Indigenous reconciliation.

Now it's saying that, there is also a progression into reconciling relationships with Indigenous people and communities if you are non Indigenous person of settler background.

What I mean by this is that truth must occur before reconciliation.

The way that Truth and Reconciliation is described doesn't imply that truth needs to occur before reconciliation so it's easy to misunderstand that Learning the truth is a fundamental and essential step in Indigenous reconciliation

This is so important and when you should begin reconciliation can be a very tricky question to answer because in order to reconcile relationships you have to learn the truth and the truth is a very dark place to be in which I described in detail in my Truth and Reconciliation resilience timeline. But the truth is very uncomfortable and negative so it's easy whether you are indigenous or a non-indigenous person to feel stuck and unable to even progress to reconciliation the deeper that you learn a boat the truth of Canada's history with indigenous people

The 4th step for understanding Indigenous reconciliation is to WHO is involved with Indigenous reconciliation?

In order to understand Indigenous reconciliation thoroughly you need to be aware of the different parties and how crucial they are to indigenous reconciliation.

I know there's a lot of Indigenous people out there who are still dealing with their pain and Trauma from the intergenerational effects of residential schools and colonization and as a result of this they carry a lot of fear and anger and negative feelings towards non-Indigenous people.

It can be easy to not want to reconcile relationships when you are carrying painful feelings and traumatic feelings with you.

When you're in a negative headspace it will be almost impossible to make progress and reconcile relationships with the other party when your mindset isn't right.

What does looks like is many times on indigenous side of things where they are strong Advocate and believer in the Need For Truth and Reconciliation however they are their pain and anger gets in the way of accepting non-indigenous people who are motivated to learn and motivated to connect with them.

This is why I talk about Gatekeepers a lot and the damaging effects that gatekeeping can cause on both indigenous people and non-indigenous allies.

In order for reconciliation to occur whatsoever non-Indigenous people or Allies must be involved and they must be motivated to learn. in many cases their motivation can be crushed by Gatekeepers or by indigenous parties who are not truly ready to reconcile relationships.

Being ready for reconciliation is something that is a very personal for each individual, and if you're watching this video to learn about reconciliation for a group of people such as a community or an organization or company that is striving for a Reconciliation action plan, then you need to start getting personal and speak with individuals to get their personal perspectives on how they're feeling about the truth and how they're feeling about reconciliation.

Non-Indigenous people have to be interested in reconciliation on their own, and genuinely care about the positive impacts it can have


The 5th and final step for indigenous reconciliation is the how Do you begin reconciliation with indigenous peoples for both allies and Indigenous backgrounds - how do you do this? Do how do you go about it?

How you begin is first becoming aware of the true history of indigenous Canada.

Depending if you are trying to understand the meaning of Indigenous reconciliation for yourself personally or for an organization you are involved with, or employed by , a professional team, the way that you go about reconciliation with indigenous people is really important.

The first place to begin I always tell people is to look within, look in the mirror ask, yourself why Indigenous reconciliation is important to you as an individual.
this means getting clear on your intentions and your focus as either an Indigenous person or as a non-indigenous person.

You'd be surprised how natural reconciliation will come to you as you answer this question on why it's personally relevant and important and a priority to you.

Additional actions that you can do is educate yourself by subscribing to our YouTube channel and watching more of our videos on indigenous reconciliation, indigenous culture and how to get involved with indigenous communities.

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