Pam Palmater launches Reconciliation Book Club on YouTube

The Mi’kmaq lawyer and Ryerson professor is helping Canadians self-educate on Indigenous issues with a video series

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Photo: Lisa Macintosh

According to Pam Palmater, the government isn’t doing the work for reconciliation. It’s up to the people – “the true government” – to do that work.

The Mi’kmaq lawyer and Ryerson University professor issued that call to action in the introductory video to her latest endeavour, The Reconciliation Book Club.

Launched in July, the YouTube video series and its comments section are meant to be a safe space for Indigenous peoples and their allies to collaborate on what Palmater describes as an interactive journey to educate the resistance. How to be an ally is not taught in schools, she reminds viewers, so self-education is key.

Palmater has written in NOW about Idle No MoreCanada 150 as a celebration of Indigenous genocide and most recently for our Missing and Murdered cover story. For The Reconciliation Book Club, she’s going beyond her own knowledge, tapping more voices and inviting discussion.

Each month she will recommend a book, and then in the following video she’ll discuss it using subscriber comments as feedback and contributions into the conversation. The series will focus primarily on Indigenous authors, she says, since those voices have been “silenced and ignored.” But Palmater will also feature a few non-Indigenous writers whose books she considers “important works to stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and advance our causes.”

Palmater introduced the series in early July, announcing the first book: Whose Land Is It Anyway? A Manual For Decolonization. The collection of essays from various authors, including late activist Arthur Manuel, was published by the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators in BC and is available as a free download.

Palmater’s first episode discussing Whose Land Is It Anyway? dropped on July 27. During the 40-minute video, she highlights the writing of Beverly Jacobs, who maps out the “core relationship between the colonization of Indigenous land and the colonization and targeting of Indigenous woman and girls.”

She describes the book as straight truth. “Truth has to come before justice,” she says. “And justice has to come before reconciliation.”

Check out the introductory video below.

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