Calling us in as Settler Filipinx/a/os: A Collective Call to Action Post-Kamloops and in Support of #EveryChildMatters
Content note: This post engages with incredibly painful and difficult experiences, histories, and ongoing issues, including the violence of settler colonialism and anti-Indigeneity, and particularly the horrific and genocidal residential and boarding school as well as child welfare systems in colonially called Canada and the US. Please move through this material with gentleness and care. The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is open 24-hours a day for residential school survivors at 1-866-925-4419.
It is a time of intense mourning and sadness for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of colour) communities across Turtle Island (so-called North America). From the increased violence towards diasporic Asians, xenophobic and anti-Muslim atrocities against Muslim communities, ongoing police brutality against Black communities, diasporic Palestinian’s fighting for the sovereignty of their homeland, and now, the finding of 215 Indigenous children at a residential school site in Kamloops, BC, the over 104 Indigenous children found at a residential school site in Brandon, MB, and the 73 Indigenous children found at residential school sites in Saskatchewan. We recognize and grieve that more Indigenous children will be found at residential school sites all throughout Turtle Island. These acts of violence stem from centuries of white supremacy and on-going settler colonial violence, not only in Turtle Island but globally.
We recognize the diasporic Filipinx/a/o community in colonially called North America as a settler community in these lands. We “understand settlers as those of us who are not Indigenous to these lands and who do not have ancestral histories of being kidnapped from and forcibly displaced from one’s homelands through the atrocious transatlantic slave trade that brought Black peoples by force to Turtle Island. Within Filipin[x/a/o]-Canadian organizing spaces [we] have been part of, [we] have, at times, encountered the misconception that only white people are settlers, that settler is a synonym for colonizer. [We] write from the belief that one can simultaneously be a settler and an immigrant of colour, or a descendant of immigrants of colour, who came to these territories not with colonizing intentions but rather in hopes of a better life away from the ongoing colonial atrocities in our own homelands, and who now benefits from and often unknowingly buys into settler colonialism in Indigenous lands — hence why [we] refer to Filipin[x/a/o]s in Canada as settler Filipin[x/a/o]s” (Morford, 2021, p. 5).
Settler Filipinx/a/os must listen to what Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island and the Kingdom of Hawaii have been saying since European arrival: we are living as uninvited occupants on stolen land. While Indigenous peoples continue to be dispossessed of their lands, we have built homes and nourished ourselves on these lands. Filipinx/a/os, as colonized peoples ourselves, carry many struggles and wounds, and yet we also benefit from and have perpetuated settler colonialism in these lands (as well as, for many of us, in the homelands). Rather than positioning ourselves from a ‘rights-based framework’ (by this we mean phrases and perspectives like, “we have the right to be here”), we must work to build relations as treaty people (a concept we unpack below, in the section “Honour the treaties”) and fight for Indigenous Sovereignty. Further, as residential schools were run by the Catholic church, and many Filipinx/a/os practice some form of Christian dominion religion (or, if not us directly, then likely our relatives, friends, and networks do), our diasporic community is situated in a unique position to hold the Catholic church accountable for the truth: that the institution was and is a facilitator and conductor of genocide, and continues to enact horrific violences against Indigenous peoples. There is nothing ‘Holy’ in staying quiet about violence. It is, indeed, truly Filipinx/a/o to stand up and speak out for what is right. This piece is intended as a call-to-action to settler Filipinx/a/os to be better relations to Indigenous lands and life in colonially called North America. We have been quiet about and complicit in settler colonial violences for far too long. It is urgent and necessary that we do better.
We recognize that some members of the Filipinx/a/o community live much more precariously in these lands than others in our community, particularly migrant workers, folks who are undocumented, and those who do not have permanent residency or citizenship. We recognize that speaking out against the nation-state can be especially unsafe when one lives precariously. We emphasize that being better relations can be done in a diversity of ways, small and large scale. We also encourage those of us who live with more security in these lands to take on the responsibility of using our privilege to speak out against the wrongs of the nation-state where and when the more precarious in our community cannot do so.
Positioning ourselves in Indigenous territories
What Indigenous lands are you currently living on and being nourished by? What is your relationship to and positioning within those lands? Who are the Indigenous nations that have been in intimate relationality with those lands since time immemorial? What are the Indigenous languages of those lands? Do you know the treaties and the Indigenous laws that live in those lands, and what responsibilities you should honour and uphold to live in those lands in a good way? These are crucial and urgent questions that settler Filipinx/a/os living in colonially called North America must work every single day to learn and to address, with humility and with respect. If these are questions that you have not yet asked yourself, you can begin to learn by visiting native-land.ca, and finding out the Indigenous land you are residing within, the Indigenous languages of that land, and the treaties that live in that territory.
This is a collaborative piece written by Kaitlin Rizarri and Ashley Caranto Morford. As writers of this piece, it is important to position ourselves as a means of being accountable to our responsibilities in these territories, to recognize the privileges that we experience here, and to make clear what we do and do not have the ability to speak with authority and from lived experience about. We are speaking with our community from our positions as settler Filipinas who are working to better understand how to be good relations as settlers in Indigenous lands, and we emphasize that we do not, cannot, and must not speak for Indigenous peoples. As well, we recognize with humility that we have, and will always have, so much to un-learn, re-learn, and continuously learn.
Kaitlin (she/her): Kumusta—Hello—Kwe! I am a mixed Filipina living as a settler in Tkaronto/Toronto, land of the Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe nations, and I was raised by Treaty 19 Territory or what is colonially named ‘Caledon, Ontario’. As I am writing this piece, I also navigate both biological and adopted spaces. On my mother’s side, I am building a relationship to my Migmaw roots and I see this reconnection as a deep responsibility. Part of this is being a bridge between Indigenous and Filipina/o/x people.
Ashley(she/her): Kumusta! I am a Filipina-British settler who has spent my entire life living as an uninvited occupant in various colonially occupied, unsurrendered Indigenous lands all throughout colonially called North America. I am currently living within and writing from Tkaronto (colonially called Toronto, ON, Canada), the territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Wendat nations, land covered by the Dish with One Spoon wampum agreement. As a settler who benefits from and is complicit in ongoing processes of colonialism, I write with the desire to better understand how settler Filipinx/a/os in Turtle Island can be better kin and relations to Indigenous lands and life.
Settler colonialism, Christianity, and the residential school system
Canada and the US are capitalist-colonial regimes that have been built on and that continue to sustain themselves on genocide, enslavement, Indigenous land dispossession, anti-Indigeneity, anti-Blackness, and other human rights atrocities. One of these genocidal atrocities was the residential school/boarding school system. Run by the Canadian and American federal governments in partnership with Christian institutions, these so-called schools were created with the sole purpose of enacting genocide against Indigenous peoples. These institutions were meant to destroy Indigenous peoples. In the words of white supremacist Richard Pratt (who founded the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in colonially called Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1879), these institutions sought to “kill the Indian, save the man.” Indigenous children were forcibly ripped from their families and taken to these “schools,” where they were violated with racist, violent, and fallacious narratives of white supremacy and Indigenous inferiority, forbidden from speaking their languages or from practicing their cultures, tortured if they did so, made to live in unsanitary conditions, fed inadequate food, and abused spiritually as well as, far too often, sexually and physically. Many Indigenous children never returned home.
Residential schools enacted genocide on Indigenous peoples. Survivors have long spoken out about the unmarked gravesites and high death rates of Indigenous children at these “schools.” Recently, the bodies of 215 Indigenous children were found buried at the Kamloops Residential School in colonially called Kamloops, BC. These children were murdered by the human rights atrocities of the residential school system. These children should have lived long and joyful lives in their communities, on their lands, and immersed in the beauty of their languages and cultures. All Indigenous children should live long and joyful lives in their communities, on their lands, immersed in the beauty of their languages and cultures. Kamloops was not the only residential school in so-called Canada. They were located all over Canada and the US, as well as in other settler colonially occupied lands. Visit this interactive map in progress by Geoff Mangum to see the widespread amount of residential and boarding schools that have existed throughout colonially called Canada and the US at
While the colonial system and many settlers consistently use language that suggests that the atrocities of residential and boarding schools are in the past, this rhetoric is harmful and incorrect. These institutions continued into the 1990s, with the last federally run residential school in colonially called Canada closing in 1996. And the legacies of the residential and boarding school system continue to this day, for example through the child welfare system, which continues to steal Indigenous children from their families, communities, and cultures.
Pinay Collection has written on the complicated relationship Filipinx/a/xs have with Catholicism. Catholicism was brought to the Philippines forcibly by violent conversions during Spanish colonization. Indeed, “there is no denying that Catholicism is the greatest symbol of colonialism in the Philippines. Let’s not forget that [the Christian] religion is not inherent to our people or our culture” (Pinay Collection instagram and blog post). We understand that many of our relatives and community might feel they cannot speak up against an organized religion in which they confide and connect to so deeply. However, true solidarity and unlearning settler complacency is not a comfortable process. We must confront the parts of ourselves that are the result of colonialism and how we might be enacting those same harms by staying silent here, as settlers on stolen land. If you are someone who attends church, it is within your power and responsibility to demand action from your organized religion and institution. So far, this is the extent of the apology the Pope has given regarding residential schools, which is inadequate and completely undermines the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC; explained below) and TRC’s calls for a meaningful apology:
Calls to Action
The process of being better relations in these lands and of challenging and working to end our complicities in settler colonialism is ongoing. We offer but a few ideas about how we can strive to be better relations in concrete and everyday ways — but these are only starting points. Here we suggest that settler Filipinx/a/os in colonially called North America can: #CancelCanadaDay and cancel the 4th of July; honour the treaties in concrete ways; offer reparations; commit to the TRC calls to action and the Initiatives of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition; demand accountability and reparations from the Catholic church; and join the Usap Tayo pods.
#CancelCanadaDay and Cancel the 4th of July
Celebrations of Canada and the US are celebrations of genocide, anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, and the horrific human rights atrocities that the Canadian and American regimes have enacted to exist on these stolen lands. To celebrate Canada and the US is to legitimize the right and the validity of Canadian and American laws on these lands, and the Canadian and American nation-states’ existence on these lands. To celebrate Canada and the US is to delegitimize ongoing Indigenous presence, laws, and rights in these lands. It is time that we stopped celebrating and legitimizing the Canadian and American nation-states and their settler colonial projects. These are, always has been, and always will be Indigenous lands and we must support the Indigenous peoples who have been here since time immemorial and who continue to live and thrive in these lands.
Settler Filipinx/a/os living in colonially called Canada: on July 1st, rather than participate in Canada Day celebrations, let’s support Indigenous communities, movements, organizations, and initiatives. Put the money you would have spent on Canada Day celebrations towards supporting Indigenous projects. Participate in events that support Indigenous rights, sovereignty, and life. Raise your voice against ongoing Canadian atrocities against Indigenous peoples and lands. And listen to and amplify Indigenous peoples and movements. To learn more about how you can participate in #CancelCanadaDay, visit this facebook event by Idle No More. To read more on this, visit idlenomore.ca.
Settler Filipinx/a/os living in the colonially called USA: on July 4th, rather than participate in Fourth of July celebrations, let’s support Indigenous communities, movements, organizations, and initiatives. Put the money you would have spent on Fourth of July celebrations towards supporting Indigenous projects. Participate in events that support Indigenous rights, sovereignty, and life. Raise your voice against ongoing American atrocities against Indigenous peoples and lands. And listen to and amplify Indigenous peoples and movements. Check out these Native American organizations that you can support and celebrate instead of supporting and celebrating colonizer and white supremacist holidays: Check out these Native American organizations that you can support and celebrate instead of supporting and celebrating colonizer and white supremacist holidays:Honour the treaties
As settler Filipinx/a/os living within colonially called North America, we are treaty people. Indigenous nations have made treaties since time immemorial. And settler governments and settlers have made treaties with Indigenous nations too. Anyone who lives in these lands should know and honour the treaties. Treaties are living agreements and relationships that help us to understand our obligations and responsibilities in these lands.
Problematically, colonial governments often discuss and frame the treaties incorrectly, as land cessions, a false narrative that legitimizes the settler government and its right to occupy these lands.This colonial narrative and conceptualization of settler-Indigenous treaties is not what treaties are, and it is important and urgent that we re-understand what it means to be a treaty person.
The following excerpt is from a larger piece that Ashley wrote entitled Settler Filipino Kinship Work: Being Better Relations within Turtle Island, and it seeks to help settler Filipinx/a/os to better understand what treaties are and our responsibilities as treaty people:
Indigenous nations have a long history of treaty-making that predates when Europeans first arrived in these territories. It is the long-standing Indigenous epistemologies around treaty-making that I turn to in my understanding of what it means to live and honour treaty as Filipin[x/a/o] settlers in these lands. I recognize that there is no singular Indigenous interpretation of the treaties, that there are a diversity of varying perspectives Indigenous legal scholars hold regarding the treaties. I center my interpretation in the writings of [Chelsea] Vowel [(Métis)], Harold Johnson (Cree), Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe), Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (Anishinaabe), and [Gina] Starblanket [(Cree and Saulteaux)] and [Dallas] Hunt [(Cree)]. I believe that, as settler Filipin[x/a/o]s, a core component of unsettling our perceptions of [colonially called North America] and being better kin within Turtle Island includes challenging and rejecting [colonial] rhetoric about the nation’s treaty-making processes with Indigenous peoples. We must understand and honour the treaties from Indigenous perspectives. I attempt to guide us to an Indigenous studies understanding of treaty by foregrounding and conceptualizing what it means to live treaty from Indigenous epistemologies. I also draw on kapwa teachings of relationality and responsibility to all of creation to deepen my witnessing of treaty. I believe that to honour treaty is to honour kapwa, and to honour kapwa is to open our hearts to the Indigenous teachings and ways of knowing the treaties that we bear responsibility as settlers to honour.
First and foremost, treaties are not and must not be understood as land cessions. Cherokee scholar Thomas King has asserted that Indigenous peoples have never surrendered their lands (“Thomas King: The Inconvenient Indian”). Relatedly, the Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations emphasizes that “[a]t no time did Treaty First Nations relinquish their right to nationhood, their Inherent Right to determine their own destinies, nor did they allow any foreign government to govern them” (“Fundamental Treaty Principles” par. 3). Stark asks the question: “If Indigenous peoples were not ceding lands [through treaty-making], but instead creating a shared territory that would enable peaceful and mutually beneficial coexistence of separate nations, how must our [current] understandings of treaty rights expand [and shift] to account for these interpretations?” (273-4). This is a question that I hold at the forefront of my conceptualization of living treaty as a settler Filipina in Turtle Island.
Through the teachings of Indigenous community members and scholars, I understand that a treaty is a sacred, spiritual, and living agreement between sovereign entities. Vowel writes that “a treaty is an ongoing relationship [...] Treaties are nation-to-nation agreements that mediate relationships, and they can and should be revisited as the relationship progresses” to ensure that responsibilities are still being fulfilled by all parties, and to communicate about any shifts and developments in treaty agreements that may be necessary as circumstances and relationships unfold (258). Cree Elder Harold Johnson (2007) says that treaties help to maintain and sustain “harmonious relations” (Two Families 27). Simpson (2008) similarly articulates that “treaties are about maintaining peace through healthy collective relationships” (35). And Gina Starblanket and Dallas Hunt posit that “[t]reaty is work; it takes labour to be in relation with other people, and to hold them accountable [...] treaty, in all its messiness and complexity, allows for a relationship that is not predetermined or fixed; rather, it is active, something that must be restored and worked on at different times and in different spaces [...T]reaties are not static” (109).
Further, treaty agreements, rights, responsibilities, and relationships extend beyond the human, to include the non-human world, the animals, the land, and the water (Simpson, “Looking after Gdoo-naaganinaa”; Stark). Humans, land, water, and non-human beings are equal and sovereign partners within treaty agreements; that is, treaties help to guide our relationships not only with our human kin, but also provide us with obligations and responsibilities for how to care for the lands, waters, and non-human beings.
Contrary to the rhetoric that [colonial regimes use] to describe the treaties, Elder Johnson has emphasized,
[W]hen your family [i.e. European settlers] arrived here [...] we expected that you would join the families already here, and in time, learn to live like us. No one thought you would try to take everything for yourselves [...] We thought we would live as before [...] We thought that maybe if you watched how we lived, you might learn how to live in balance in this territory. The treaties that gave your family the right to occupy this territory were also an opportunity for you to learn how to live in this territory (qtd by Ross 155-6).
While Johnson is speaking to a white settler audience, his words nevertheless extend to subsequent settler audiences, who have benefited from the original treaties between [settler] and Indigenous nations [...] Vowel says that settlers “were supposed to share these lands as guests and, eventually, as kin, not as rulers” (Indigenous Writes 113). And Starblanket and Hunt articulate that “[m]any Indigenous people understand treaties as a means of bringing settlers into existing kinship relations, and to teach them about their responsibilities as newcomers to this land [...] Treaties, at a basic level, are mechanisms for talking to strangers and bringing them into relationship with” the Indigenous nations and ways of the land (107-8). What the insights of these various Indigenous teachers, writers, and scholars indicate is that, as settlers, we must understand these territories as shared between multiple sovereign peoples (human and non-human), we must hold Canada [and the US] responsible for fulfilling [their] ongoing treaty obligations to Indigenous nations, we must recognize our status as visitors in these lands, and, as visitors, we must follow Indigenous protocols and laws around caring for one another and for all of creation within these lands.
To unpack this idea of honouring and living treaty further, I turn to Simpson’s analysis of the Dish with One Spoon, a pre-colonial treaty originally made between the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee and the non-human beings, lands, and waters of the area [colonially called] Southern Ontario, and which is a living and ongoing agreement that continues to be relevant for all residing in that area today. Under this agreement:
both the Nishnaabeg and the Haudenosaunee were eating out of the same dish through shared hunting territory and the ecological connections between their territories. The dish represented the shared territory, although it is important to remember that sharing territory for hunting did not involve interfering with one another’s sovereignty as nations. It represented harmony and interconnection, as both parties were to be responsible for taking care of the dish. Neither party could abuse the resource. It was designed to promote peaceful coexistence and it required regular renewal of the relationship through meeting, ritual, and ceremony [...T]here is one spoon not only to reinforce the idea of sharing and responsibility, but also to promote peace. There are no knives allowed around the dish so that no one gets hurt (Simpson, “Looking after Gdoo-naaganinaa” 37).
As Simpson says, “Our ancestors intended for this relationship to continue perpetually, and it is relevant today [...] because it sets forth the terms for taking care of a shared territory while maintaining separate, independent sovereign nations” (36).
My understanding of what it means to live treaty deeply interweaves with my understanding of what it means to live kapwa: to honour our responsibilities to all of creation, to ensure the ongoing nourishment and well-being of all of creation within these Indigenous lands and waters. To live treaty means that we, as settlers, are always committed to being the best kin we can be to Indigenous lands and life. I believe that, by working to live treaty, we as settler Filipin[x/a/o]s are returning to and honouring the ancestral kinship principles of our island homelands — those principles that colonialism has threatened and sought to destroy, and which are commonly conveyed by the Tagalog term kapwa. To honour treaty is a kapwa responsibility. To care for all of creation is a kapwa responsibility. And, just as honouring and embodying treaty is ongoing relationship and living commitment, so too is honouring and embodying kapwa an ongoing relationship and living commitment. As Filipin[x/a/o] settlers, we can understand that treaty and kapwa are intimately intertwined — and we can understand that living treaty is both a kapwa obligation and a settler obligation (Morford, 2021, pp. 169-75).
In colonially called North America, Eve Tuck (Unangax̂) and K. Wayne Yang (settler of colour) emphasize that the process of decolonization “brings about the repatriation of Indigenous land and life (1). Thus, if we as settler Filipinx/a/os living in Indigenous lands are committed to decolonization, we must work to offer reparations to Indigenous peoples.
For those with financial security, you can participate in Indigenous-led monthly rent initiatives, such as the Real Rent Duwamish initiative in colonially called Washington State, which “calls on people who live and work in Seattle to make rent payments to the Duwamish Tribe [...] All funds go directly to Duwamish Tribal Services (DTS) to support the revival of Duwamish culture and the vitality of the Duwamish Tribe” (Real Rent Duwamish). Settlers in Duwamish land can pay rent by going to: https://realrentduwamish.org. You can sign up to pay rent weekly, monthly, etc.
You can offer ongoing monthly financial support for community-led Indigenous land initiatives, including Idle No More, a grassroots and widespread movement for Indigenous sovereignty, rights, and lands, and RAVEN Trust, which “raises legal defence funds for Indigenous Peoples in Canada to defend their rights and the integrity of lands and cultures” (RAVEN Trust). Sign up for the Idle No More e-newsletter at https://idlenomore.ca/ to stay up-to-date on actions taking place near you in support of Indigenous lands, rights, and sovereignty. You can also sign up for regular updates from RAVEN Trust at https://raventrust.com/.
Other small ways that you can work to honour and repatriate Indigenous lands include showing up in support of Indigenous land rights movements like 1492 Land Back Lane, Tiny House Warriors, and #StopLine3, three grassroots initiatives fighting to protect Indigenous lands against colonial-capitalist encroachment.Commit to the TRC Calls to Action and support the initiatives of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was created through a legal settlement between Residential School Survivors, the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit representatives and the parties responsible for creation and operation of [residential] schools: the federal government and the church bodies. The TRC’s mandate was to inform all Canadians about what happened in residential schools. The TRC documented the truth of Survivors, their families, communities and anyone personally affected by the residential school experience” (Truth and Reconciliation; The TRC documented the truth of Survivors, their families, communities and anyone personally affected by the residential school experience” (Truth and Reconciliation;). In 2015, the TRC published its official summary report of its findings, including 94 calls to action to begin to address the wrongdoings of residential schools. Have you read and committed to the TRC Calls to Action? Are you helping to hold the Government of Canada responsible for the urgent need to honour these calls, and for its current failure and refusal to uphold this ongoing responsibility? The Yellowhead Institute finds that the Canadian government has only implemented 8 of the 94 calls to action thus far, which you can learn more about at Yellow Head Institute (Jewell and Mosby).
We — as individuals, as a community, and as a society — must read, listen to, witness, and commit to the TRC Calls to Action. But we must also always remember that reading is only the beginning. Reading alone is not enough. How will we commit to and work towards the Calls to Action every single day and for the long-term? What is one thing that you can do to commit to and embody the calls to action today?
We also encourage you to provide financial and other support for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) at Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) and the Orange Shirt Survivor Society.
In the American context, we amplify the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS). NABS is working to bring the violent histories of Native American boarding schools to light, as well as to bring healing and reparations for survivors, families, and communities. NABS “formed after a national symposium in 2011. Leaders from the U.S. and Canada came together to discuss the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the need for such a process in the U.S. NABS was created to develop and implement a national strategy that increases public awareness and cultivates healing for the profound trauma experienced by individuals, families, communities, American Indian and Alaska Native Nations resulting from the U.S. adoption and implementation of the Boarding School Policy of 1869” (History; https://boardingschoolhealing.org/about-us/history/).
We urge settler Filipinx/a/os to support the organization’s various initiatives towards healing for Indigenous survivors and accountability and reparations from the US government and churches. Please visit the NABS website. Some tangible ways you can support the organization’s work include: offering financial support to NABS; signing petitions in support of the Coalition; joining their e-newsletter to stay updated on their work; learning about and attending, as appropriate, webinars and events they are hosting; visiting their living resource database; supporting NABS advocacy work like the UN Filing on Missing Children, which “call[s] on the United States to provide a full accounting of American Indian and Alaska Native children who were taken into government custody under the U.S. Boarding School Policy and whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown” (UN Filing; https://boardingschoolhealing.org/advocacy/un-filing-on-missing-children/).
As we continue on this journey of being accountable to the ongoing violences of the residential school system, we also encourage engagement with and commitment to the Personal Pledge of Reconciliation.Demand accountability and reparations from the Catholic church
We must demand accountability and reparations from the Catholic church, as it continues to extend the violence of the residential school legacy.
- The Catholic church and the Pope have never offered an official apology, which is a TRC Call to Action (#58). The Catholic church and Pope must provide an official apology. But an apology is not enough, and it must not end there.
- The church continues to conceal documents about residential schools. It is urgent that these documents be made public, and we must stand alongside Indigenous people in demanding that the church release them.
- Further, the Catholic church needs to provide reparations to Indigenous peoples. The church has lots of money and resources; in fact, it is one of the biggest non-governmental landowners in the world. The Catholic church should be taxed. Another action we can take is to demand that the settler government taxes the church, with reparations going to Indigenous peoples, including land returned to Indigenous peoples.
- As well, “the Catholic Church has failed to pay $25-million into a healing fund for survivors, as it agreed to do” (Warick; https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/first-nations-leaders-call-for-catholics-to-boycott-sunday-mass-1.6062610?fbclid=IwAR0lz_T-KrU1Wcg6P4F4l4dPJLPvjM57wt1aecfDPCuC95TwLqrAolw-Cs8), and we must support Indigenous peoples by demanding that it honours this agreement.
- Our Roman Catholic kababayans: please honour the call of Saskatchewan First Nations leaders “to boycott Sunday mass until [the] church does more for residential school survivors...it's one thing for politicians or First Nations people to call for justice, but [...] all Catholics joining them would have a much bigger impact” (Warick; https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/first-nations-leaders-call-for-catholics-to-boycott-sunday-mass-1.6062610?fbclid=IwAR0lz_T-KrU1Wcg6P4F4l4dPJLPvjM57wt1aecfDPCuC95TwLqrAolw-Cs8).
Read more about the importance of demanding accountability from the Catholic church at: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/first-nations-leaders-call-for-catholics-to-boycott-sunday-mass and https://cultmtl.com/2021/06/we-cant-let-the-catholic-church-off-the-hook-for-residential-schools-canada/Be part of the Usap Tayo pods
The Usap Tayo pods are ongoing virtual spaces for non-Black and non-Indigenous Filipinx/a/os to dialogue in community, hold ourselves accountable to, and work in active and tangible ways to the process of being better relations to Black and Indigenous communities. To learn more, visit: https://pinaycollection.com/pages/the-usap-tayo-pods.
For further learning
Some important writings about the legacy of residential schools include:
- Genocidal Love: A Life After Residential School by Bevann Fox
- In Search of April Raintree by Beatrice Mosionier
- Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
- They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellars
- Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga
- Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
- The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
- Unsettling the Settler Within by Paulette Regan
See Goodminds’ recommendations for books on residential schools: https://goodminds.com/collections/residential-schools-1
Please support and buy from Indigenous-owned bookstores! For more information, visit: https://blog.libro.fm/indigenous-owned-bookstores/
In colonially called Canada
- Goodminds: First Nations Métis Inuit Books: https://goodminds.com/
- Barely Bruised Books: https://www.ottawabookstore.ca/
- Massy Books: https://www.massybooks.com/
- Iron Dog Books: https://irondogbooks.com/
In colonially called the USA
- Birchbark Books: https://birchbarkbooks.com/
- Bird Cage Bookstore: https://www.wordcarrier.com/
- Native Books/Nā Mea Hawaiʻi Nūleka: https://www.nativebookshawaii.org/
- Red Planet Books and Comics: https://redplanetbooksncomics.com/
@pinaycollection. “We have been reflecting a lot on religion lately –.” Instagram. 27 Feb. 2021, https://www.instagram.com/p/CL0WqxpDIZ5/. Accessed 19 June 2021.
@Pontifex. “I join the Canadian Bishops…” Twitter. 6 June 2021, https://twitter.com/Pontifex/status/1401539372261031939. Accessed 19 June 2021.
“Fundamental Treaty Principles.” Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations. n.d., www.treatysix.org/treaty-principles. Accessed Dec. 2020.
“History.” National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. n.d., https://boardingschoolhealing.org/about-us/history/. Accessed 19 June 2021.
Jewell, Eva and Ian Mosby. “Calls to Action Accountability: A 2020 Status Update on Reconciliation.” Yellowhead Institute. 2020, https://yellowheadinstitute.org/trc/. Accessed 19 June 2021.
Johnson, Harold. Two Families: Treaties and Government. Purich Publishing, 2007.
King, Thomas. “The Inconvenient Indian.” Art Gallery of Ontario Talks, 25 Oct. 2017, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Talk.
Morford, Ashley. Settler Filipino Kinship Work: Being Better Relations within Turtle Island. 2021. University of Toronto, PhD thesis.
Real Rent Duwamish. n.d., https://www.realrentduwamish.org/. Accessed 19 June 2021.
Simpson, Leanne. “Looking after Gdoo-naaganinaa: Precolonial Nishnaabeg Diplomatic and Treaty Relationships.” Wicazo Sa Review, vol. 23, no. 2, 2008, pp. 29-42.
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