Reconciliation is one of the four key themes of Canada 150, and one that is particularly important to the NWT. Our territory is proud to be part of Canada, but it is important to recognize that not everyone’s experience of the last 150 years has been positive.

In celebrating our many achievements as a nation, we must also engage in meaningful conversation about the work that remains to achieve reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians.

In the Northwest Territories, reconciliation is an ongoing process, shaped by our unique experiences and realities and advanced through education, inclusion and collaboration.

Here are a few important ways the NWT is advancing the objective of reconciliation.

Integrating the TRC Calls to Actions

On June 2, 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released ‘Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future – the Summary of the Final Report’. The report included 94 recommendations as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. The report and recommendations are intended to help address the legacy of residential schools in Canada and advance the process of reconciliation.

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) believes that the Calls to Action should help shape public discourse about the steps required to achieve reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians. In this spirit, the GNWT has offered its responses to the Calls to the Actions. The GNWT’s responses are not intended to be a full answer to the recommendations. They represent a new step in the broader process of reconciliation.

Increasing awareness of the legacy of residential schools

The Northwest Territories had the highest percentage of students in residential schools of any area in Canada. The legacy of this involvement is huge, as many of the current social, health and education challenges faced in the NWT can be traced directly to the effects of over a hundred years of residential schools.

In response to a widely-perceived need, combined with strong political leadership and a unique partnership between Nunavut (NU), the NWT, and the Legacy of Hope Foundation, a collection of teaching resources was developed and became mandatory in Grade 10 Northern Studies (NWT) in 2012.

Resolving land claims and supporting self-government aspirations

The settlement of land claims is key to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous communities in Canada and creates the foundation for social development and economic growth that can generate benefits for Indigenous people and all Canadians.

For 42 years the Government of the Northwest Territories has worked to establish government-to-government relations with Aboriginal governments. Today, there are six settled land and resource agreements in the NWT and two self-governing First Nations, with more agreements under negotiation.

The resolution of outstanding land, resources and self-government agreements is a key priority of the current GNWT mandate.

In order to achieve this goal, the GNWT has been implementing a more flexible and adaptive approach to advancing outstanding land claims in the Northwest Territories.

Increasing intergovernmental cooperation

The Government of the Northwest Territories has formalized its commitment to work with Aboriginal governments through the signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). These MOUs describe an agreed upon approach to intergovernmental cooperation and coordination on matters of mutual interest. They are part of a process of strengthen government-to-government relations and finding the best ways for leaders to discuss and advance shared concerns.