Trish Nadjiwon Meekins – Racism of Indigenous People

Meeting Was Held On -

Tuesday, June 23, 2020 3:54 PM

Our first discussion group on Zoom occurred on the evening of Tuesday, June 23. Our topic was racism, in particular racism aimed at our Indigenous people. Our guest was Trish Nadjiwon Meekins, counsellor at the Nikaanaganaa Counselling and Learning Centre in Owen Sound.

Trish talked about the realities of the residential schools. The RCMP at that time helped to keep the children from their parents. The Indian Act of 1876 made it illegal to practice their ceremonies. Their sacred artifacts were placed in museums, but most have now been repatriated. The goal was assimilation, a blending of First Nations people with the predominant White culture.

Originally the Indigenous community lived in what is now Brooke, and got along well with the Owen Sound community. The Saugeen and Neyaashiinigmiing from Cape Crocker were formerly one nation.

Systemic racism was ever-present. Consider something like not calling the Chiefs by their titles- They are not Tecumseh, Nawash and Pontiac. They were Chief Brant, Chief Tecumseh Chief Nawash and Chief Pontiac. There were horrific events like “Starlight Tours” where men were taken outside the city in winter by the police, and left in the freezing cold without shoes or coats. Many died from the cold as you would imagine. Some made it back. What about the recent murders of Indigenous people and the disappearances of women and girls? What can be done about all of this racism and cruelty?

Some suggestions for what can be done!!!

  • A meeting with the Chief of Police regarding these issues.
  • Cross cultural training for the police forces, taught by an Indigenous person.
  • White people can be an ally.
  • Meetups between police and members of the Indigenous community.
  • Governments addressing the poverty and poor conditions on some reserves.

Actions designed to raise the standard of living.

Education: teaching young people the truths in this history. Addressing racism with age-appropriate children. [5 and up?]

Books for children which could be read at home and in schools.

Patronize Ningwakwe Books, a publisher of First Nations literature.

Books by Thomas King

So much was discussed and learned at this session. We emerged with the importance of being allies and the hope of finding ways to WORK TOGETHER.

A huge thank you to Trish for leading this discussion, a great start in working together.  If you want more information about Trish, her Learning Centre and her other services, you can reach her by email at or her website at

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