ATC Forging an Orange Path Forward for Reconciliation
Sometimes one sentence can capture an entire movement. “Reconciliation Starts With An Act,” is such a sentence for the Orange Path movement. Launched last month by the Athabasca Tribal Council (ATC), the Orange Path campaign is a “national effort to raise awareness and support for reconciliation across Canada.”
Inspired by Chief Janvier of Chipewyan Prairie Déne Nation, and his Blinding Light Walk - Tiger Lily initiative, the Orange Path movement is an effort to bring attention to the need for change to Canada’s Indian Act. Unknown to many, Sections 114 and 115 of the Indian Act still allow the Minister to “operate and regulate schools for First Nations children without their free, prior and informed consent.”
“ATC recognizes that every Nation and every ally is on their own personal path to support reconciliation. The Orange Path is a movement that helps you shape your path and demonstrate your support. We identify key actions and provide the resources you need to take those important steps,” notes Karla Buffalo, CEO, ATC.
“Changes to the Indian Act are one important step to reconciliation, but it doesn’t end there. It was through the Indian Act that the federal government forced our children to attend residential schools and it is through the Indian Act that the federal government may continue to regulate our children’s education without our consent today. ATC is calling for an immediate amendment to Sections 114 and 115 of the Indian Act to provide for First Nations’ free, prior, and informed consent to the federal government’s operation and regulation of schools for First Nations children. We expect all federal leaders to pledge their support for this Amendment and we encourage every Canadian to visit Orangepath.ca to learn more and start their path,” Buffalo added.
Indeed, the words “free, prior, and informed consent,” which makeup the proposed ATC amendment point to fundamental rights, which should be afforded to every Canadian. In addition, as per the official website, the amendment “would enable many more First Nations to operate their own schools and ensure that initiatives to offer high-quality culturally appropriate curricula are funded on equal footing with other forms of education.”
You can also visit orangepath.ca to sign the petition supporting the amendment.