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Category: Reconciliation and Decolonization

Shawn O’Dell on transforming provincial-Indigenous relations

I would like to see a provincial government that doesn’t avoid improving the quality of life of Indigenous People and working towards reconciliation in Saskatchewan because of jurisdiction issues with the Federal Government.

We’re all treaty people, and we need a province that acts like it.

Saskatchewan can be a partner by following the lead of Indigenous People in getting beyond the Indian Act, and be an active participant in pursuing strong, vibrant, united, self governing indigenous communities. With the resources and intergovernmental support that the Saskatchewan government can provide, the voices of Indigenous People in Saskatchewan could become amplified in Ottawa. Additionally, the Saskatchewan government could commit to actively filling the many gaps left by the federal government in the lives of Indigenous People in Saskatchewan, and sort out the jurisdictional issues with Canada later.

Saskatchewan can be bold in providing support and resources wherever they are needed, and regardless of whether it is Ottawa’s problem, to create solutions by Indigenous people and within Indigenous communities. Why does this province need to wait for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to get their act together before improving the life of people who live here? Why does Saskatchewan have to wait for the Supreme Court to decide who falls under the Indian Act and into which category, and not just step up to the plate and overcome this provincial complacency?

It’s not enough to simply say “Saskatchewan’s government supports all people equally”.

We can become a leader by following the very strong voices of the Indigenous People of this land.

Dr. Darlene Juschka on transformational change in SK

There are several changes I might propose in order to improve the quality of life for Saskatchewan folks:

We need to move to green energy and green economy to ensure the health of the population in light of the high rates of cancer in the province; We need to deal with the racism and colonialism in the province and develop – in light of Truth and Reconciliation – respectful relations with Indigenous peoples; And finally, we need to bring together northern and southern SK and provide the same kind of services and opportunities available in the south to folks in the north.

Statement to SaskForward from Chief Cadmus Delorme, Cowessess First Nation

“Success within Saskatchewan is about enhancing our greatest asset, our people. First Nations have endured a lot throughout generations and continue to strive for success and equality while maintaining what is core to ones self, proud to be First Nation. Inclusion and empowerment is the driver to successful First Nation people.” – Chief Cadmus Delorme, Cowessess First Nation

Trevor Herriot on transforming agriculture

Globalization and industrialization have driven agriculture to the margins of Saskatchewan’s economic and cultural life, converting farming into an undervalued activity that provides the raw material for food processing and delivery industries that provide unhealthy food to fuel an overheated, profligate, carbon-emitting economy. One way to transform Saskatchewan, renew our commitment to our treaties, and begin to share responsibility for, and wealth derived from, the gifts of the land, would be to elevate the growing of good food—healthy for people and the land—to the status it deserves at the centre of a more sane, moral, and sustainable economy.

Saskatchewan has the agricultural land base, climate, and know-how to lead the world in renewing the economics and ecology of growing food in the temperate zone. With the right tax policy, land reform and a community-based approach to sharing at least a portion of the wealth that comes from the use of all lands, private and public, Saskatchewan could begin to change from systems that provide incentives for the unsustainable exploitation of land to systems that produce food, fuel, and fiber while safeguarding farm lands and natural lands for the benefit of current and future generations.

To create a more just and ecologically sustainable agriculture, we need to transform the way individuals and communities divide the costs and benefits of using land. How? First, by creating policy, community-enforced regulations, and economic mechanisms that share the value of land–both privately-owned and Crown lands–with the surrounding community; Secondly, by reversing systems that incentivize the depletion of local resources while increasing income inequality and driving up the costs of land; and lastly by supporting agricultural practices that re-connect people and communities to the land in ways that create both wealth and ecological wellbeing (healthy water and soil, carbon sequestration, biodiversity).