Feature Guest: Melissa Mbarki, policy analyst in the Indigenous Policy Program at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute
If you look for news on Indigenous reconciliation in Canada, you’ll find a lot of interesting stuff:
- A lot of talk about the legacy of colonialism and residential schools
- Environmental activist David Suzuki calling for a new approach to parks and governance
- Calls for Ryerson University to change its name in order to erase any connection to Egerton Ryerson because of his involvement with residential schools
- Coverage of Bill C-15 in Parliament to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Reconciliation is a bigger topic than one episode of The Long Way can cover, but this episode starts down that road. We do so starting from the premise that reconciliation – the restoration of a relationship – is necessary. For one thing, it’s a simple recognition of the human dignity we all bear, Indigenous or not. For another, it’s a step toward healing from past injustices and moving toward a better Canada.
Our feature guest in this episode is Melissa Mbarki, an Indigenous woman from Treaty 4 in Saskatchewan who grew up on a reserve. She has spent her career working as an oil, gas, and mining operations analyst. Melissa is also a policy analyst in the Indigenous Policy Program at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI).
Listen for Melissa Mbarki’s insights on what Indigenous reconciliation looks like on the ground from her point of you. You won’t hear much high-sounding rhetoric or calls for grand gestures. However, you will hear a very practical description of what needs to change and what role natural resource development plays in this issue. One issue that really comes through in our conversation involves the benefits of work beyond earning a paycheque. That’s something think tank Cardus has studied extensively. To learn more, check out Fuelling Canada’s Middle Class and Work is About More Than Money.
If you’re interested in learning more about Melissa’s work and the involvement of MLI in Indigenous issues, visit the MLI website.
And if you’re interested in reading about some under-reported aspects of reconciliation, here are three articles in Convivium that you may enjoy reading:
Images of Indigenous Resilience by Alan Hustak
Renewing On Middle Ground by Cecil Chabot
Reconcile This by Peter Stockland
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The Long Way is a podcast of think tank Cardus.
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