Canada is coming to terms with its colonial legacy and its treatment of generations of Indigenous peoples.
As an Indigenous woman, a former Crown prosecutor and a former Regional Chief of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould has long been an advocate for change. Now as Canada’s first Indigenous Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Minister Wilson-Raybould has a unique perspective on how to rebuild the nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian government – and ultimately all Canadians.
In the 2016 ANU Reconciliation Lecture, Minister Wilson-Raybould will draw links between the Canadian and Australian experiences and make the case that effecting positive change in Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples is the only way to reach true reconciliation – what she refers to as ‘moving through the post-colonial door’. As with all her colleagues in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, Minister Wilson-Raybould is mandated to support the renewal of this relationship, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.
In addition to discussing the Canadian government’s work in leading an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and acting upon the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into Indian residential schools, Minister Wilson-Raybould will provide insight into the review of Canada’s criminal justice system, including a look into the over-representation of Indigenous people as both offenders and victims.
Minister Wilson-Raybould will also discuss her views on how Canada will implement the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and what mechanisms will be needed to make it work for governments and Indigenous peoples within the Canadian context.
Ultimately, reconciliation in a post-colonial Canada requires that all Canadians learn from their collective history and move out of the shadows of past injustices. This will help transform the relationship between Indigenous people and federal entities from imposed governance to self-governance and true partnership within the Canadian Confederation – ensuring an inclusive, just and respectful society.