[Member spoke in Mi’kmaq]
I just start off always speaking in my Mi’kmaq language, and what I did was acknowledge the territory of the Algonquins.
I grew up next to Grand Captain Alexander Denny. He always said, when we were looking at discussing indigenous issues, in order to get a balanced understanding of where we're going, we should first know where we have been. One of the things that not everyone in Canada has been privileged to be able to get education around is indigenous issues and some of the history around colonization within Canada.
One of the first things that I think would set the tone well, as a historic first for this committee, is for us to do some training and to really understand the issues that we're about to discuss and put forward in priorities. The TRC in its calls to action was pretty adamant that we need increased education and training in all areas, and one of them is for us as parliamentarians. I really feel that we could get off on the right foot if we took a historic first for this committee and did something that would increase our knowledge around indigenous history.
Before I became an MP, I was the treaty education lead for Nova Scotia, and I was able to be part of a first there when the provincial cabinet in Nova Scotia took part in a blanket exercise and then had presentations done from groups that informed them about indigenous history.
What I would like to recommend is, following the calls to action, to seek first to listen, to understand and to really get a sense of what the history is...what we are trying to do differently. By taking part in a blanket exercise as our next convened meeting, this could be something that not only we but our staffs could take part in, and it would give us a really good sense of the history that we've been through in Canada and a sense of being able to move forward on this committee by learning first, by listening first, by understanding first and then moving forward with the priorities and values we've come to understand from this.
That would be my recommendation, that first we figure out and take two hours of our time and do a blanket exercise where we would be able to understand the history of indigenous people and the history of Canada in a way that puts us on a good path toward working together for the indigenous people across Canada.