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A Canadian flag flies over the James Bay First Nation of Attawapiskat. (Erik White/CBC) CBC is marking 40 years on the air here in northern Ontario.

Of course, the history of the region goes back much further than that. It goes back thousands of years to the first people to live among these rocks and trees.

With the budding national conversation about reconciliation and a general awakening of Indigenous communities across the country, it’s an interesting moment to contemplate the future for Indigenous peoples of the north.

Unlike some other topics, it’s tough to make predictions about the first peoples without first answering some big questions about Canada.

Damien Lee, sociology professor Ryerson University: "The question becomes can Canada exist and be decolonized at the same time?"

Tom Flanagan, political scientist University of Calgary: "I think realistically the First Nations have no future in the modern world except as a cooperative part of Canada."

Brock Pitawanakwat, Inidgenous studies professor University of Sudbury: "I really think that Sudbury will have strong Anishinaabe presence. It wouldn’t even surprise me if we don’t call this place Sudbury anymore."

Here more on this week’s edition of the Next 40:

We’ve been asking some smart folks this fall to predict what northern Ontario could be like in 2058, but when it comes to the future of Indigenous people they seem less likely to make bold prognostications. The CBC’s Erik White brings us the next instalment in our special series The Next 40. 9:01

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