Why Work to Decolonize?: An Interim Study Guide Engaging the National Inquiry’s Final Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

2020, 22 pp
This guide engages the overall themes of the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. More resources engaging specific sections and findings of that report are forthcoming, but in the meanwhile, we hope that this discussion guide can be used as an orienting resource and catalyst to read and work through the National Inquiry’s final report.

The guide is meant to worked through two sittings, though it can also be split into four if that is better for your group. It is best done in a group but can be used for personal study as well, if finding a discussion group is prohibitively difficult. If you are using two sittings to work through this guide, we recommend you end the first session after finishing the discussion questions for “Callused interactions: colonialism, racism and life and death.” If you are doing four, we recommend pausing after the section on genocide and after the section on four pathways as well.

The material in the Inquiry’s final report, and therefore in this discussion guide, is very difficult. You will hear stories recounting lived experiences of abuse, assault, neglect, racism, and the death of loved ones stemming from a long history of colonialism. What is colonialism? In the words of the Inquiry’s final report, “Colonization refers to the processes by which Indigenous Peoples were dispossessed of their lands and resources, subjected to external control, and targeted for assimilation and, in some cases, extermination.” Colonialism is systemic, shaping all of us in varying ways. It is only in acknowledging the intense harm it has already done and continues to do, and allowing that knowledge to change our hearts and minds, that we can truly work to end anti-Indigenous racism stemming from colonialism.

These stories will raise many different emotions in your discussion group, or in yourself if you are working through this on your own. It is important to acknowledge and work through these emotions, and for everyone in the discussion group to treat each other respectfully, even if disagreements or difficult emotions arise.

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