In 2008, Canada’s then Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, apologized for Canada’s role in administering the Indian Residential School system. After a successful civil lawsuit against Canada, IRS survivors created and funded the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) process.
The TRC worked for seven years to capture this country’s story. In the end, a final report was presented to the country in 2015, the atrocities laid bare for all to see. In 2015 a new social and responsibility question was born in Canada – is reconciliation possible in this country, and if so, what does reconciliation look, sound, and feel like?
The question of reconciliation was presented to Canada, its leadership across government, the public sector, the private sector, its educational and cultural institutions, towns and cities, and of course, its citizens. The moment called on everyone in this country to consider how we might transform Canada with a reinvigorated effort toward equitable and right relationships.
McMahon shares his family and community story in this highly personal, deft, and comedically powered presentation that encourages us to consider the limits of reconciliation, where this journey has failed, where it has worked, and what might be next for a country desperate for change.
Canada 150 was a sobering moment for a country desperate for change. A few years ago, in 2016, Canada turned 150 years old. The social responsibility question and the political responsibility question that reconciliation presented Canada and its citizenry arrived in board rooms, schools, and dinner tables across the country. Canada threw itself one heck of a birthday party.
What no one expected was for Indigenous People writ large to rip up the birthday party invitations, refuse to attend, and refuse to send gifts. Canada 150 was a reckoning for Indigenous communities, begging the question, “What kind of country can Canada be in the next 150 years? How can Indigenous and non-Indigenous people move beyond apologies, programs, and services and start to build equitable, safe, and just communities for all? How do we build toward 2167?
This presentation aims to provide a statement of facts for Canada. It borrows from key findings of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Final Report, the National Inquiry into Missing. Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls final report and various Indigenous produced texts, readings, and reports that will provide a nuanced and accessible understanding of where this country has been and where it might be able to go next.
To transform Canada and to accept the unique challenges that the new social and political responsibility question that reconciliation has asked of all of us, we need new ideas (or maybe we just need old ideas presented in new ways) to rise to the forefront of our good hearts and minds.
Using of the Ojibway language as a guide, McMahon brings his audience through the Anishinaabe 7 Grandfather Teachings and presents them as a tool for change, equity, and better relationship building.
Take a deep dive into Anishinaabe thought and philosophy with Ryan and examine the transformational possibilities of Truth, Courage, Wisdom, Humility, Respect, Love, and Honesty as it pertains to the social and political responsibility questions of today in Canada.
Hollywood was built on stories of brave cowboys killing savage Indians. Disney became a billion-dollar company before there was such a thing, thanks to the success of films like Pocahontas and Peter Pan, both with egregious representations of Indigenous stories and characters. Cigar Store Indians. Sports Mascots. Looney Tunes. The Simpsons. I could go on and on.
Misrepresentations of Indigenous People through popular culture and mainstream media have been used through time to justify the sordid history of North America, land theft, cultural genocide, forced assimilation policies and other atrocities experienced by Indigenous People here in North America.
Indigenous Peoples, worldwide, but specifically here in North America, have never had a say in how they are represented in popular culture or media. This has shaped the world’s understanding of Indigenous Peoples themselves.
Indigenous People in North America are one of the world’s most misunderstood peoples. Still, in 2022 this is changing thanks to Indigenous storytellers, media makers, writers, comedians, and other misfit artists committed to sharing their truths.
In this multimedia keynote presentation, McMahon takes you on a storytelling history lesson to reshape how we think about representation in media and why the quickest way forward in Canada as it pertains to reconciliation and building better relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is through Indigenous storytelling.