How to be an ally when we just aren’t sure what to do

In Canada, aside from the urgent threats from climate change (witness this week’s devastating floods and landslides in heat- and fire-ravaged British Columbia) and never-ending COVID, ensuring that the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Report are acted upon in timely, meaningful ways is essential.  The rub is that most of us don’t know how we can help make a difference, how we can be an ally to our Indigenous neighbours in their pursuit of dignity, respect, and justice. We care, but what next?

Yesterday when I was downtown I came across a pamphlet that addresses that very question.  How can we be allies to Indigenous peoples in Canada?  This pamphlet, developed and distributed by the Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick, provides some very helpful advice.  For those of you anywhere in the world outside of Canada where Indigenous peoples and their languages, cultures, ways of life, and pride have been victims of colonization, these points may be useful to you as well.

The website mentioned in the pamphlet, https://native-land.ca/, actually shows the traditional territory on which settlers live all over the world. You might be surprised at what you find. And think about how some of the points raised in the sections What is an Ally, How to Educate, and How to Advocate below can also apply to ways in which one could be an ally to other marginalized groups in our countries who face discrimination and/or racism. Please give some though to how you can be an ally.

And now to let this helpful pamphlet speak for itself.

Woliwon.  Wela’lin.  Thank you.

Ally1

Ally2

Ally3

Ally4

Ally5

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10 Responses to How to be an ally when we just aren’t sure what to do

  1. Roy McCarthy says:

    Awareness and understanding is within reach of us all, and your insightful articles Jane are a perfect example. Sadly though there are too many who will never concern themselves with matters which don’t affect their daily lives. This applies not only to the subject matter here but other worthy causes. Climate change is a prime example. My personal ones might be women’s rights and veganism.
    Action is another matter and I think one needs to speak out, often at the risk of ruffling feathers and being criticised for one’s views, and that’s not easy.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Roy. I love your personal concerns. Have you successfully converted to a vegan diet? If so, my hat is off to you. We would have lots of trouble giving up dairy, but I do get the arguments. Yes, I agree, too much of the comfortable world don’t concern themselves with pressing issues that don’t show an immediate impact on their lives. With climate change, by the time it shows an immediate impact (like in British Columbia right now) it may be too late. Ruffling feathers is the perfect role for little old ladies!! 🙂

  2. heimdalco says:

    The map was certainly an eye-opener. There are indigenous people living right here in the mountains of Virginia … we share a “back door.” There are festivals & events that many non-indigenous people participate in annually with our indigenous brothers & sisters & donations are made to schools. I remember in elementary school we were part of a program to offer our “used” books to indigenous kids in their schools in our area. But HOW to help now, other than the occasional donation just didn’t compute. Your post has put a stop to the guessing with real suggestions that offer more immediate help. Thank you for sharing this … & for caring.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      And thank you for sharing information about indigenous people in Virginia. I didn’t know that. It’s very encouraging that sharing of cultures has been embraced where you live. That’s happening more and more here. Badly needed.

  3. The Widow Badass says:

    Thank you, Jane. I am trying but not always sure of what to do or if what I am doing is effective/enough. This helps.

    Deb

  4. Excellent! I also think culture—books, movies, TV shows created by Indigenous folks—helps, too.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Good examples, Laurie. Everything that helps “settlers” understand the intergenerational trauma that colonization has inflicted on Indigenous peoples, leaving dysfunctional families and communities at the mercy of govt control and systemic racism is making a contribution. Awareness and understanding are the first steps.

  5. Thanks for passing this along, I will learn more.

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