The path to reconciliation
ii' taa'poh'to'p is based on a foundation of compassion through cross-cultural learning opportunities that promote awareness, education, and understanding.
On this path to reconciliation, UCalgary continues to acquire knowledge to gain deeper understanding of the devastating impact of colonization on Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Historical and Cultural Context
Colonization is the act of control over and appropriation of Indigenous peoples and land. The specific, systemic elements of colonization have been described as “domination,” as “colonizers” establish regimes that inhibit or prevent people from participating in political life and in legislative law making and decision making.
Colonization and racism go hand in hand. Colonial legislation and policies like the Gradual Civilization Act of 1857 and the Indian Act of 1876, resulted in Canada’s enforced residential school system. These legislative acts and policies also led to the dispossession of Indigenous lands and the imposition of a legal order aimed at limiting Indigenous rights and the suppression of cultures to make room for settlement and economic development. The consequence of this was the devastation of Indigenous identities.
An objective of colonization was to assimilate Indigenous peoples, if needed by force: nations were fractured in small communities, people were displaced, and families were separated. Racism openly inspired the actions of public authorities, which engaged in practices now regarded as genocidal. This approach culminated in the policy that sent more than 150,000 Indigenous children to residential schools, where they experienced physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, leaving scars of immeasurable impact. The legacy of residential schools had a devastating effect on generations of Indigenous peoples in Canada, causing language and cultural loss, socio-cultural disparity, and inter-generational trauma.
Truth and Reconciliation
After several years of inquiry and testimony involving residential school survivors, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its comprehensive report in 2015, boldly revealing the truth behind residential schools.
Alongside the report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission also released ‘94 Calls to Action’, calling upon Canadians to take part in the path towards reconciliation. It is these specific and direct “Calls to Action” that challenged organizations and institutions from across the country to begin active and assertive planning for the journey towards reconciliation.
Because education played a fundamental part in the implementation of the destructive assimilation policies of the past, the UCalgary is dedicated to its moral and ethical obligation to walk the path towards reconciliation. The university is committed to renewing relationships with Indigenous peoples, and to creating an inclusive, mindful, and respectful teaching, learning, and research institution of higher learning. This will require system-wide transformation.
- Honouring the Truth, Reconciling the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
- Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Universities Canada Principles on Indigenous Education
Indigenous People and Working at UCalgary
The University of Calgary plays a key role in the local community, as it is a hub of curious, inquisitive and civic-minded students, faculty and staff. Our campus community is foundational to fostering an environment that is respectful and inclusive of Indigenous peoples as demonstrated by the development of ii’ taa’poh’to’p, the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy.