Reconciliation — or Restitution?

The first in a series of events organized as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission opens in Winnipeg on Wednesday, June 16th, and the TRC is getting quite a lot of media coverage. While the TRC wouldn’t exist if not for pressure from indigenous people, including people who experienced the extremely oppressive residential school system, what would reconciliation mean?

Taiaiake Alfred argues “that reconciliation must be intellectually and politically deconstructed as the orienting goal of Indigenous peoples’ political and social struggles. I see reconciliation as an emasculating concept, weak-kneed and easily accepting of half-hearted measures of a notion of justice that does nothing to help Indigenous peoples regain their dignity and strength.” Check out his essay “Restitution is the Real Pathway to Justice for Indigenous Peoples,” which is included in this publication.

For more on the struggles of indigenous peoples, check out the 2006 special issue of New Socialist on “Indigenous Resurgence.”