Northern Cree Elders perspectives on developing relationships for reconciliation

John G. Hansen


The Truth and Reconciliation call to reconciliation has received increasing attention in recent years. This research aims to discuss the notion of reconciliation in relation to Indigenous knowledge and traditional teachings.  Interviews with Cree Elders directs the research methods and ways of knowing.  What the Elders teach us about relationships provides a pathway towards reconciliation and the development of positive relationships.  This research is qualitative in nature and examines the concepts of relationships and provides considerable discussion on the premise that Indigenous teachings provide a foundation for reconciliation.  The main efforts and strategies towards reconciliation are educating Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians about the truth of our colonial past, a vision for social justice that leads to the development of positive relationships among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, and the appreciation of decolonisation efforts in the reconciliation process.  Research findings demonstrate that strengthening oral understandings of the Cree people’s kinship systems in Northern Manitoba would contribute greatly to reconciliation. Therefore reconciliation can be developed by identifying and promoting teaching processes grounded in Indigenous culture. The Elders that were interviewed in this study shared their knowledge and memories of the dynamics of their Northern Cree kinship systems in which they were raised in.  

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