1. Educate yourself. This critical piece of history was missing from the curriculum of many children. This is an opportunity now for you to seek out reliable sources, especially from Indigenous writers, and learn the painful history. Prepare yourself for the conversations with your children and understand and reflect on your own biases and beliefs.
2. Be honest. Those of you who have been in my community for a while know how important honesty is to me as a parent. I strongly believe all conversations, including those challenging topics, need to be grounded in the truth at a developmentally appropriate level.
3. Use books. Children’s books like the ones listed below make excellent catalysts for discussion.
4. Adjust your Language. Use language based on the level your child will understand. For young children, you may say something like, “there was a time that Indigenous children were taken away from their families and forced to go to schools far away from home and they weren’t allowed to speak their languages or show their culture”. For older children, you may talk more specifically about the abuses that happened in residential schools.
5. Have a dialogue. Rather than simply sharing the information, ask your child questions about their perspectives, what they feel about what they’ve learned, and their thoughts about equity and justice.
6. Have ongoing conversations. Continue discussions on an ongoing basis focused on the treatment of Indigenous Peoples in Canada as well as broader issues related to being anti-racist and taking action.
7. Take Action. Read the Calls to Action and consider the reconciliActions you can take with your family including visiting museums, reading books together, or attending local Indigenous cultural events.