The Royal Canadian Geographical Society celebrates a Canadian first: The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada
OTTAWA, June 21, 2018 – The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Nellie Kusugak, Commissioner of Nunavut, leaders representing First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation, Indigenous artists, and John Geiger, CEO of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, kicked off celebrations for the launch of Canadian Geographic’s long-awaited Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada.
This was a Canada 150 project funded by the Government of Canada and for the Honourable Mélanie Joly, the Atlas will make a positive contribution to Canada’s educational landscape. “For years to come the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada will help build capacity for open discussion, empathy and mutual respect, as well as act as a powerful educational tool to help facilitate the renewal of Canada’s relationship with First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “There is no relationship more important to our government than the one with Indigenous Peoples, and we are proud to have contributed to this important initiative.”
For Geiger, the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada is an important foundational document in the reconciliation process. “We have collaborated with Indigenous partners, found and worked with some of the best new and veteran Indigenous writers, designers, photographers and educators to make this stunning package of educational resources,” said Geiger.
The Atlas content has been produced in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis National Council, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, and Indspire. These partners represent unparalleled breadth and depth of knowledge, expertise, and strong ties to their respective communities and networks.
The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada was created in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, which cites the development of culturally appropriate curricula for Indigenous students as a top priority. Lack of appropriate educational and financial resources for Canada’s Indigenous students has long been deemed a contributing factor to the marginalization of Indigenous communities.
The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada includes a four-volume print atlas, an online interactive atlas with an accompanying app, Giant Floor Maps, and various other educational resources for classrooms. This ambitious, ground-breaking educational resource is unprecedented in scope, as well as in the level of Indigenous participation and content creation on a geography-related project.
The Atlas partners are pleased with the fruit of their year-long efforts, having worked hard to develop these innovative teaching tools, which will soon be introduced into classrooms across Canada.
“The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is thrilled to be part of this important initiative,” said Ry Moran, Director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. “This collaborative effort represents a dramatic step forward in our collective recognition of Indigenous histories, nations, territories and identities. The Atlas, web portal, and Giant Floor Map will be critical instruments in helping current and future generations understand who we are and where we need to go.”
“The Assembly of First Nations looks forward to the release and circulation of this Atlas as an important education and information resource,” said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “With increased understanding of First Nations cultures, contributions, and the shared history between First Nations and Canada, we can move forward towards a better relationship.”
“Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is proud to have played a primary role in developing the Inuit section of this Atlas. The Inuit way of seeing our homeland is unique, grounded by generations of interconnectedness with our environment – the lands, waters, plants and animals,” said Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. “We understand the value of sharing our perspective with the world and commend all of the partners involved in this project on their work and commitment in bringing together the Indigenous stories of our country.”
“For the Métis Nation, the Indigenous Peoples Atlas helps set the stage for a better understanding of the Métis people and our role in Canada’s development, both historical and ongoing,” said Clément Chartier, President of the Métis National Council. “Educational resources such as the Atlas are critically important in telling that long neglected story.”
“The Atlas is an important educational tool that provides a clear understanding of our shared interests in the land and waters of Canada, and it will help promote understanding and reconciliation, which will lead to stronger relationships over the next 150 years,” said Yancy Craig, Director of Government Relations at Indspire.
The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada teaching resources will be made available to all Indigenous schools through the partners’ distribution channels and to more than 20,000 Canadian Geographic Education members in the fall of 2018. The four-volume set of books will be sold and distributed by Kids Can Press, through an exclusive partnership with Canadian Geographic, that will enable this important resource to be made available not only across Canada but around the world. The partnership will also see the future development of much-needed children’s content inspired by the collaborative efforts of Indigenous communities and Canadian Geographic Education.
For further information: Media Information: Lee-Anne Van Buekenhout, MBA, Communications Officer, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, University of Manitoba, Phone: (204) 474-6959, Email: Lee-Anne.VanBuekenhout@umanitoba.ca; Ke Ning, Executive Assistant & Communications Officer, Métis National Council, Phone: (613) 232-3216 ext. 511, Mobile: (613) 297-5193, Email: email@example.com; Amanda Charles, Communications & Marketing Specialist, Indspire, Phone: (416) 987- 0240, Email : firstname.lastname@example.org; Erin Brandt Filliter, Director of Communications, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Phone: (613) 238-8181 ext. 272, Email: email@example.com; Deborah Chapman, Communications Manager, Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Phone: (613) 613-745-4629 ext. 160, Mobile : (613) 299-8995, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Jenna Young Castro, Communications Officer, Assembly of First Nations, Phone: (613) 241-6789 ext. 201, Mobile : (613) 314-8157, Email : email@example.com