The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

Treaty 7

Many people want to be an ally to the Indigenous community but often don’t know where to start. They may not know what the correct terminology is or what sorts of questions should be asked and avoided.

The SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research describes non-Indigenous allies as people who, “Recognize the unearned privilege they receive from society’s patterns of injustice and take responsibility for changing these patterns.”

Whenever one culture imposes its definition of family on another, nothing good follows, says Peter Choate, a social work professor at Mount Royal University.

“I don't think we have a single example anywhere in the world where one culture-defining family for another culture has worked,” says Choate.

Take the Blackfoot language, for example, where there is no literal translation for certain family members that exist in western cultures.

In two years time, Calgary will be home to the new Indigenous Gathering Place. It will be a place for urban Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous peoples dedicated to supporting Indigenous cultural practices.

When Princess Lightning, 22, looks back to her youth, the Cree woman recalls lacking one main thing, especially when she was troubled — a safe space to embrace her culture with other Indigenous youth.