All Canadians have a responsibility to learn about the history of colonization in Canada, its harmful and ongoing impacts, and the ways we can support Indigenous people and communities rebuilding their languages and cultures.
This list of resources is far from complete. It is meant to provide a starting point for learning, and it will continue to evolve over time. It is shaped by the perspectives and experiences of its author, Heather Bliss. We welcome your input. Please feel free to share resources you have found useful in your own learning.
Learn more about the history of colonization and residential schools in Canada
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report
- There is also a YouTube Playlist of Indigenous people reading sections of the report
- Other reports produced by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
- Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- Indigenous Issues 101 by âpihtawikosisân (aka Chelsea Vowel)
Learn more about Indigenous rights and reconciliation
- Truth Before Reconciliation: 8 Ways to Identify and Confront Residential School Denialism
- United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
- Province of B.C.’s legislation promising to implement UNDRIP (DRIPA)
- Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples
- Reconciliation Canada (see also Chief Dr. Robert Joseph’s short film about residential schools)
- Native Land (an interactive map of Indigenous territories)
- Beyond 94 – CBC’s tracking of Canada’s promises to enact the 94 Calls to Action of the TRC
- What is Reconciliation? – Video showing perspectives from Indigenous advocates
Learn more about Indigenous languages in Canada
- CBC Original Voices
- Wellness for Culture à an inspiring initiative connecting Indigenous languages and fitness
- Voices on the Rise, Alberta à film series about language revitalization in Southern Alberta
- Voices on the Rise, BC à film about language revitalization on Vancouver Island
- Khelsilem’s TedX Talk on Indigenous languages
- Geolinguistics à a blog about language and land by settler ally Dr. Rebekah Ingram)
Learn more about Blackfoot
- Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth
- This is the charity organization our fundraiser is supporting!
- Blackfoot Language Resources
- Digital hub including dictionary, oral stories, conversational phrases, learning resources, academic articles and more
- Niitsitapi Virtual Exhibit
- An online exhibit that includes stories and histories of the Blackfoot people. Niitsitapi roughly translates to “authentic/original people” in Blackfoot, and it is the name the Blackfoot people use to refer to themselves
Learn more about the name of our initiative
Aawatsspommootsiiyio’p is the name of our project. It was given to us by Ikino’motstaan Noreen Breaker, a Siksika Elder. It is a Blackfoot word that translates to “we are stepping up to help each other.”
Here is a of Heather pronouncing the word. (Be gentle! Heather is just learning, and a fluent Elder like Noreen would do a much better job!)
In the Blackfoot language, one word often corresponds to a complete sentence, and each word consists of many smaller pieces that have important meanings. Aawatsspommootsiiyio’p is no different. Here is a breakdown of the word into pieces:
- aawat = taking initiative; stepping up
- sspommo = to help
- otsiiyi = reciprocal, each other
- o’p = inclusive, we all do it together
Learn more about Indigenous communities in B.C.
- First Peoples’ Map of B.C.
- Coast Salish History Project
- Khelsilem on what language is spoken here in the Lower Mainland
- Musqueam Online Mapping Portal – interactive map with Lower Mainland placenames in the hunq’umin’um’ language
Learn more about charities to support
- Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth
- First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation
- Indian Residential School Survivors Society
- Native Women’s Association of Canada
- Pacific Association of First Nations Women
Still looking for more?
You are welcome to get in touch with Heather Bliss, either through the dojo or via firstname.lastname@example.org. Heather is a non-Indigenous linguist with long-standing collaborative relationships with members of the Blackfoot-speaking Siksika and Kainai communities of Southern Alberta. She is a Lecturer at SFU, and holds Adjunct Professor positions at UBC, UVic, and the University of Calgary. She works with Indigenous communities and organizations throughout Western Canada to support revitalization initiatives.