QAHN RESOLUTION: "Anglophone Heritage in the Time of Reconciliation"

--June 26, 2018.


The following is an official extract of the Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN), held in Quebec City, on June 9, 2018:

"Whereas this statement has been conceived as a way to begin a reflection on the role QAHN can play in the process of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians that truthfully acknowledges the legacies of loss of territory, language, culture for Indigenous communities in Quebec and Canada during the last four centuries. It has been informed by reading several key documents in the national conversation on reconciliation, notably those based on the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Though concerned primarily with redressing the specific legacy of residential schools in Canada, the TRC contain numerous recommendations that deal with the broader legacies and traumas of colonial and state policy in Canada and are proposed as a starting point for understanding and sharing this history.

Whereas defining the limits of Quebec’s “Anglophone” heritage is complicated by the ethnic diversity of people who use English in their daily lives throughout the province. Debates about who is truly an English-speaking Quebecer play out in the development and implementation of language policy in numerous spheres of public life in Quebec. For First Nations people who mostly or even exclusively use English in their daily lives, the question of linguistic identity is even more fraught: current language use and knowledge has been indelibly shaped by centuries of policy that explicitly sought to erase traditional Indigenous languages and cultures through assimilation into dominant English or French-speaking societies. The residential school system is just one important example. At the same time, Indigenous communities in Quebec may be counted among just a handful of places in the province where the English-speaking demographic is growing. With these multiple contexts in mind, the moment has arrived for QAHN to critically reflect on what it means to study and advocate for Anglophone heritage in Quebec and how we can do so in the spirit of reconciliation at local, provincial, and national scales.

Be it resolved that QAHN hereby affirms its commitment to the reconciliation process by encouraging its board and membership (including both individual and institutional members) to undertake the following actions as defined in the TRC’s Calls to Action (2015) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007):

1) Read and become knowledgeable of the recommendations put forth in the TRC’s Calls to Action (2015).

2) Read and become knowledgeable of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which the TRC has identified as a core framework for reconciliation as an ongoing practice.

3) Establish a committee to discuss the core themes of these documents and the implications for our organization. As a result of the deliberations of this committee, a second official QAHN statement on the topic of reconciliation should be drafted for approval by the board.

a) If possible, in the spirit of dialogue and truth advocated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we should invite input and feedback from one or more Indigenous experts in Quebec either during this meeting and/or in response to any subsequent statements and action plans proposed by our organization.

4) Encourage active reflection, research, participation and, if necessary, truthful acknowledgement and awareness of the direct involvement of the institutions of English-speaking Quebec in the residential school system."

Proposed by: Glenn Patterson;
Seconded by: Terry Loucks.
All in favor.