CPSA Reconciliation Committee

The field of Political Science is beginning to engage the challenges and opportunities of including Indigenous content in university courses (Ladner 2017; Bruyneel 2012). Although discussions regarding the “indigenization” of universities were important prior to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) Calls to Action and Final Report, such discussions are even more urgent.

Indigenous Content Syllabus Materials: A Resource for Political Science Instructors in Canada [pdf download]

Indigenous Content Syllabus Materials: A Resource for Political Science Instructors in Canada

Reconciliation Committee

October 28, 2020
Truth and Reconciliation Review
Ryerson Masters in Public Policy and Administration Program (MPPA)
Department of Politics and Public Administration

This report builds on Ryerson’s 2018 Report related to the TRC Calls to Action
and the School of Graduate Studies Framework for Truth and Reconciliation Report

The MPPA program is committed to implementing the 25 recommendations in the report and monitoring implementation each year.

January 30, 2020
Course Outlines

POL484F/2026F (2019)
Indigenous-Settler Relations in Canada:
Monitoring Progress toward Reconciliation
Professor: Melissa S. Williams
University of Toronto

Report on POL484F/2026F (2019)

POLS 222.3 (02)
Indigenous Governance and Politics

Instructor: Kathy Walker
University of Saskatchewan

Indigenous Governance and Politics
Department of Political Studies
University of Saskatchewan

POLI 4842.0XX
The Politics of Reconciliation (summary and detailed description)

Professors: Alexandra Dobrowolsky and Edna Keeble
Saint Mary’s University

June 2019
2019 CPSA Annual Conference – University of British Columbia – BC
June 4, 2019

Roundtable: The Problematic of Reconciliation

Keynote: UBCIC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip – Asserting Indigenous Title and Rights in 2019

Roundtable: Reconciliation as if Women Mattered: Colonialism, Patriarchy, Privilege and Indigenous Liberation

Roundtable: That Little Land Theft Matter: Reconciliation and Title

May 2018
2018 CPSA Annual Conference – University of Regina – Saskatchewan
May 30, 2018

The Role of Scholarly Associations in Advancing Reconciliation
What Can Be Done?


A special open session at Congress 2018 organized by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences in collaboration with the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) and the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA).


This workshop engages scholarly associations in a conversation among peers on the role that humanities and social science disciplines can play in advancing reconciliation in post-secondary education and in society more widely.


How can associations engage with their membership and across other disciplines to advance the TRC calls to action? What can associations learn from each other and what is the way forward? This session showcases the experiences of the CASWE and the CPSA in building plans of actions for advancing reconciliation.  Participants will be able to engage in critical exchanges, including sharing successes, challenges, and ideas for the future to help answer the question “what can associations do?”


May 2017
2017 CPSA Annual Conference – Ryerson University – Toronto
May 31, 2017 | HEI-201 (Heidelberg Centre)


Confederation @ 150 – Roundtable Plenary
Ensuring that the TRC is a Program of Action
The CPSA Reconciliation Committee’s Plan and the Discipline


The 2015 publication of the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), poses challenges and opportunities for every sector of Canadian society, including those of us who are political scientists. The Commission emerged from the 2008 agreement between the federal government and the tens of thousands of indigenous children who – separated from their families and communities – had to endure the residential school system. The commission’s final report definitively documents the abuses which happened in that system. It also embeds the term “cultural genocide” into contemporary discourse through a compelling survey of Canadian politics and history. The report concludes with 94 specific “calls to action.” In response to these calls to action and to the publication of the report itself, the CPSA Board of Directors in 2016 struck a Reconciliation Committee “to report on the implications of the Truth and Reconciliation findings for political science and political scientists in Canada.” This roundtable brings together members of that Reconciliation Committee to facilitate a discussion on their deliberations to date. The TRC Report defines reconciliation as “an ongoing process of establishing and maintaining respectful relationships at all levels of Canadian society.” How we might strive to achieve this will be addressed both at this roundtable, and at the two TRC-related workshops of which it is a part.


Monitoring Progress on the Road to Reconciliation – Peter H. Russell (pdf)


Yasmeen Abu-Laban (Alberta)


Participants & Authors/Auteurs
Peter Russell (Toronto)
Joyce Green (Regina)
Kiera Ladner (Manitoba)
Rauna Kuokkanen (University of Lapland, Finland)
Isabel Altamirano-Jimenez (Alberta)


Sponsor / Commanditaire

February 2017
Federation’s Commitments and Actions on Reconciliation

February 2017

Presentation of Dr. Cindy Blackstock at the 2017
Meeting of Chairs of Departments of Political Science –
University of Alberta, Edmonton – January 27-28, 2017

Presentation of Dr. Cindy Blackstock 2017 CPSA Chairs Meeting (pdf)

January 2017
CPSA Reconciliation Committee – Appointment of a New Member – Co-chair

The CPSA Board of Directors appointed Dr. Joyce Green (University of Regina) to serve on the CPSA Reconciliation Committee as co-chair.

The Board thanks Dr. Glen Coulthard for his work and contributions to the committee!

December 2016

CPSA Reconciliation Committee’s Plan of Action – Annual Event on Truth and Reconciliation at the CPSA Conference

In December 2016, the CPSA Board of Directors approved the CPSA Reconciliation Committee’s Plan of Action and adopted a motion to organize an event on Truth and Reconciliation at each annual conference.


CPSA Reconciliation Committee
Plan of Action


The Meaning of Reconciliation
Reconciliation can mean simply two parties who have been estranged getting together, forgiving or forgetting past differences and moving on together in good spirits. In the context of Truth and Reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples in Canada, reconciliation must not mean that. It must address the injustices and harm inflicted by non-Aboriginal Canada on Indigenous peoples, and be a program of activities based on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls for action. In making implementation of those calls the focus of its contribution to Truth and Reconciliation, the CPSA is supporting a program of action approved by the Government of Canada. If Truth and Reconciliation turns out to be nothing more than a big hug, for Indigenous peoples it will just be an addition to the list of broken promises. The Heiltsuk word “hailcistut”, meaning “to turn things around and make things right” captures well what we think reconciliation should mean. The program of action we now recommend to CPSA is based on this understanding of reconciliation.

A) Enhancing Teaching


  1. The CPSA should encourage member departments to include in the early years of the undergraduate political science program coverage of the politics of Indigenous peoples-settler relations that includes the experience of settle colonization and contemporary reconciliation efforts. Ideally, we would like to see a mandatory course on this subject in political science programs. But bearing in mind the limited resouces of some institutions, we realize that it may only be possible for some departments to ensure that there is some coverage of this subject in introductory or Canadian politics courses.
  2. The CPSA should encourage member departments to make the recruitment of scholars with a knowledge of Indigenous-settler relations a recruiting priority for tenure-stream appointments or, where that is not feasible, for other kinds of appointments to the teaching stream.
  3. The CPSA should encourage member departments to explore ways in which they could recruit Indigenous students into their graduate programs and increase the inclusion of Indigenous scholarship and research in their teaching programs as well as their programs of guest seminars and lectures.
  4. The CPSA Reconciliation Committee should prepare an annotated bibliography on reconciliation politics and other relevant literature for CPSA members interested in learning more about the subject.
  5. The CPSA Reconciliation Committee should provide examples of courses and information on course materials for the use of CPSA members.
  6. The CPSA Reconciliation Committee should establish and maintain a roster of scholars who are able and willing to advise departments of political science on methodologies and materials relevant to teaching in this area.


B) Monitoring Progress

The CPSA Reconciliation Committee views the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action as a good program of action “to turn things around and make things right”. The Government of Canada has also committed to implementing all of the TRC recommendations. However, to date it has made no move to implement Call #56 calling for the establishment of a National Council for Reconciliation to monitor what is termed “post-apology progress on reconciliation”. Recognizing that political scientists have a special role to play in tracking and analyzing policy, as well as the fact that Call #65 calls on the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to advance understanding of reconciliation through multiyear funding possibilities, the CPSA Reconciliation Committee will work to communicate research gaps and unfolding research opportunities to CPSA members and the political science community.  We also view the communication of research findings on reconciliation, and in particular research tracking the responses to the 94 calls for action, as an important basis of collective knowledge about reconciliation in the discipline. To this end, we will be especially attentive to research opportunities and research findings addressing the angle of progress.


C) CPSA Meeting of Chairs of Departments of Political Science 2017

Dr. Isabel Altamirano will speak on behalf of the Reconciliation Committee at the Annual Chairs Meeting to be held at the University of Alberta on January 28, 2017 to inform them of the Reconciliation Committee and action plan, and to discuss university responses to the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action.


D) Congress and CPSA Annual Meeting 2017


  1. The Action Plan that we recommend and the Board’s response to it should be discussed at the CPSA Business Meeting.
  2. Members of our Committee will participate in a Race, Ethnicity, Indigenous Peoples workshop at Congress 2017.
  3. As many members of our committee as possible will participate in a “keynote roundtable” that will discuss the CPSA Action Plan as well as summing up discussions at the REIPP workshop and another workshop on Indigenous Governance and Public Administration. The keynote roundtable is being organized by Paul Kellogg co-organizer of the REIPP section of the CPSA program.
  4. The CPSA Board should consider institutionalizing some kind of recurring event at the CPSA annual meeting relating to Truth and Reconciliaton.
  5. Our Committee will liaise with the Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences in organizing a cross-disciplinary plenary session on reconciliation at Congress 2017.

CPSA Reconciliation Committee


June 2016

CPSA and Reconciliation
Reconciliation Committee

The CPSA and Reconciliation
Prepared by Yasmeen Abu-Laban


The Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released June 2015 will affect political scientists and the CPSA1. The Report defines reconciliation as an ongoing process to establish and maintain “respectful relationships” between Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal Canadians. Moreover, “A critical part of this process involves repairing damaged trust by making apologies, providing individual and collective reparations, and following through with concrete actions that demonstrate real societal change “(TRC Executive Summary, 17-18). The new Liberal government has made clear its commitment to the process of reconciliation and public institutions will be encouraged to respond to the challenges reconciliation poses.


How are political scientists likely to be affected and how might CPSA and its members respond? Post-secondary institutions, research and teaching are directly implicated in many of the 94 calls made by the TRC. They include calls for: increased access for Aboriginal people to post-secondary education; increased federal funding for post- secondary education that will support access; the diversification of university education through e.g. the development of new programs and courses in indigenous languages, history, legal traditions, and knowledge; and developing new research on the process and effects of reconciliation. This clearly involves both challenges and opportunities for political scientists. For example, the TRC Report states: “We call upon the federal government, through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, post-secondary institutions and educators, and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and its partner institutions, to establish a national research program with multi- year funding to advance understanding of reconciliation” (TRC Executive Summary, 242).


How are other organizations responding? Many universities are already responding to the challenges posed by the TRC, as have other academic associations, notably the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. The CPSA, likewise, needs to develop a plan for responding to the challenges and opportunities the reconciliation process will entail. As a responsible professional association, the CPSA has an obligation to help its members, and member departments, navigate the new environment. Therefore, the CPSA needs to develop its own organizational response.


Because reconciliation is an on-going process, not a one time event, and because what might be termed the “politics of reconciliation” are unfolding quickly, discussions within the Executive and with key members of the board and in the association indicated the value of having a dedicated group of political scientists addressing these issues. To this end, the CPSA Board of Directors approved the following motion on May 30, 2016:


1For an overview see also the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. Available: www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/File/2015/Findings/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf



That the CPSA Board of Directors strike a “Reconciliation Committee” to report on the implications of the Truth and Reconciliation findings for political science and political scientists in Canada;


That the committee be composed of professors Isabel Altamirano (University of Alberta), Glen Coulthard (University of British Columbia), Rauna Kuokkanen (University of Lapland, Finland), Kiera Ladner (University of Manitoba), Peter
Russell (University of Toronto, former CPSA President) and Daniel Salée (Concordia University);


That the committee make an initial report to the Board in December 2016 with a proposed plan of action for reconciliation in political science and a program for the January 2017 Chairs’ Meeting and the 2017 Annual Conference.