June is Indigenous History Month! If you’re looking for ways to honour, celebrate and learn more about Indigenous Culture and History, below is a list of ideas on ways to engage – you can read, listen, learn and do. Spread the word and tag us on social media (@bodoarchaeology) for each item you complete. We’d love to see what books you are reading, what you are learning, and how you are celebrating Indigenous History Month!
- Read a book by an Indigenous author.
Here is a list to get you started: https://www.cbc.ca/books/108-indigenous-writers-to-read-as-recommended-by-you-1.4197475
Billy-Ray Belcourt is an acclaimed writer and poet from Driftpile Cree Nation in Northern Alberta: https://billy-raybelcourt.com/
Personal favourites are The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and All Our Relations by Tanya Talaga.
2. Read a book about local Indigenous history (Alberta/Saskatchewan).
Recommendations: The Penguin Extraordinary Canadians series version of Big Bear by Rudy Wiebe. This book is geared towards young adults but is a great read for adults too. There is also a book in this series about Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont.; Imagining Head-Smashed-In by Jack Brink; In Search of Ancient Alberta by Barbara Huck.
Or, send us your recommendations for other local books and we’ll add to the list!
3. Listen to a podcast!
The radio show Unreserved is available as a podcast and celebrates Indigenous community, culture, and conversation.
Learn more about treaties through this episode of the Your Forest podcast (Episode #94: Canada, A Treaty Story with Matthew Wildcat).
4. Figure out what Treaty Land and which Métis Nation of Alberta Region you live on/in and reflect on what that means.
This guide is a great resource for people living in Alberta – it covers treaties 6, 7, and 8 and gives an overview and history of the treaties, and a chance for reflection. For additional learning resources, appropriate for both kids and adults, check out their webpage: https://empoweringthespirit.ca/digging-deeper/
Alberta is the only province with a recognized Métis land base, thanks to the Métis Association of Alberta, an organization formed in 1928 to advocate for Métis rights. There are six regions in the province – you can find which region you live in here.
5. Follow Remembering the Children Society on Facebook.
Remembering the Children Society is an Indigenous led non-profit organization whose goals are to provide reclamation and preservation of Indian Residential School cemeteries & history in Alberta and to facilitate reconciliation among all peoples. This group is based in Red Deer and has been working on finding unmarked graves associated with the Red Deer Industrial school as well as providing proper burials and markers.
There were 25 residential schools in operation in Alberta from 1893 to 1996.
6. Familiarize yourself with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Read the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action.
“The NCTR was created as part of the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). The TRC was charged to listen to Survivors, their families, communities and others affected by the residential school system and educate Canadians about their experiences. The resulting collection of statements, documents and other materials now forms the sacred heart of the NCTR.
The NCTR Archives and Collections is the foundation for ongoing learning and research. Here, Survivors, their families, educators, researchers, and the public can examine the residential school system more deeply with the goal of fostering reconciliation and healing.”
7. Visit an interpretive site, museum, or other tourist attraction that celebrates and promotes Indigenous history and culture.
- Bodo Archaeological Site and Centre (tooting our own horn here!)
- Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park (Cluny, AB)
- Wanuskewin Heritage Park (Saskatoon, SK)
- Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (near Fort Macleod, AB)
- Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park (southeastern AB)
- Metis Crossing (northeast of Edmonton, AB)
- Visit or follow Indigenous Tourism Alberta for MANY other ideas (Instagram: @indigenous.tourism.alberta; Facebook: IndigenousTourismAlberta)
8. Challenge your own and other’s thinking.
Whether we recognize it or not, we all have built in biases, stereotypes and ways of thinking. Pay attention to what yours are and challenge yourself to think differently and look at things through a lens of compassion and understanding. We are all treaty people and we all have a responsibility to work towards reconciliation.