For Indigenous peoples, Reconciliation is about much more than having an opportunity to wear their regalia and dance during Parliament Hill celebrations for Canada's 150th birthday. Reconciliation means more than words, be they apologies for past grievances, or empty promises about better days ahead. Meaningful Reconciliation will only start when Canada takes concrete actions to address the confiscation of Indigenous lands and attendant resources, actions that will help First Peoples become true partners in the prosperity enjoyed by the most recent immigrants to these territories.
Maurice Switzer, Bnesi, is a citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation, where his grandfather Moses Muskrat Marsden was Chief from 1905-1909.
A member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, he is an adjunct professor with the University of Sudbury's Indigenous Studies faculty. He lives in North Bay, where he is a member of the Sons of Jacob congregation, and operates Nimkii Communications, a public education practice with a focus on the Treaty Relationship which made possible the peaceful settlement of Canada. In 2003 he received an Award of Honour from the Canadian Race Relations Foundation for the "Niijii Circle" public education initiative.
In 2010, Maurice was honoured with an Anishinabek Nation Lifetime Achievement Award, and the following year authored "We are All Treaty People", a graphic novel that has sold over 14,000 copies.
He was the first Indigenous student to attend Trent University, and the first Indigenous publisher of a daily newspaper in Canada.
Len Rudner (moderator)
Len Rudner is Principal at Len Rudner & Associates, a consultancy focusing on community advocacy, diversity & inclusion and human rights. He is the former Director of Community Relations and Outreach for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).
Prior to working with CIJA Len was employed in successive roles with Canadian Jewish Congress, acting as Ontario Regional Director, National Director of Community Relations and Ontario Director of Community Relations. He has represented the position of the Jewish community on a variety of issues including antisemitism, discrimination in the workplace, reasonable accommodation and Holocaust denial. He has represented CIJA and CJC at international conferences focusing on Holocaust education, antisemitism, hate speech and freedom of speech.