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National Indigenous Peoples Day: A Resource List for Lawyers and Union Representatives


This year, National Indigenous Peoples day is a difficult one for many Indigenous people. For me, the discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School was not a shock – it has been well documented in countless reports that thousands of children died at these schools and their bodies never returned to their families.

What was surprising to me was the reaction of the public – which showed how little many Canadians know about our history. The last residential school in Canada closed in 1996 – which means that it was still operating while I was in high school. Some of your Indigenous clients and members may well have attended these schools themselves or are still living with the trauma that these schools wrecked upon their lives and communities.

Many of the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission asked Canadians to learn more about the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. There are simple, and even enjoyable steps that you can take to meet these calls to action.

With that in mind, I’d like to share with you a resource list for lawyers, union representatives and others who work with Indigenous people and peoples. Many of these are excellent, others I haven’t reviewed yet but have added them to my reading/listening/watching list!

Resources specifically for lawyers:

Learning the basics:


You can find these on iTunes, Spotify, and many other podcast platforms

Some ally toolkits:

A few non-fiction books, some essays and lots of reading lists:

And, of course, a list of legal “must reads”

And finally, some fiction (I told you that this can be enjoyable)

  • The Marrow Thieves – Cherie Dimaline
  • Moon of the Crusted Snow – Waubgeshig Rice
  • Split Tooth – Tanya Tagaq
  • There There – Tommy Orange
  • Kiss of the Fur Queen, Thomson Highway
  • Indian Horse, Richard Wagamese (it’s also a movie, with an accompanying educational website)

A special thanks to Jeff Doctor for helping me compile these resources.