As an Indigenous youth in Manitoba, Phil Fontaine spent 10 years in a residential school with limited contact with his family. Called “savage” and abused at school, Fontaine left the system with a deep bitterness, fractured sense of family and cloudy sense of identity.
In this episode of Chatter That Matters, Fontaine describes how he turned his anger into a mission to enable self-rule, self-determination and self-governance among Indigenous people. He talks about how he was met with resistance from peers when he decided to speak publicly about the harms inflicted at residential schools and how he stood his ground, firmly believing there needed to be a deep examination into the history of Canada’s residential schools and an apology to the Indigenous community.
He chats with Tony Chapman about the factors that contribute to the cycle of poverty within Indigenous communities and how he feels it can be broken for good. He speaks of the need for education, action and collaboration among all Canadians and how working together can bring about a real and sustained to change.
Part of the delegation that sought a papal apology in 2009, Fontaine talks about why it took another 11 years to get an audience with the Vatican. Believing the discovery of the 215 unmarked graves in Kamloops was a catalyst in Canada’s pursuit of truth and reconciliation, Fontaine walks listeners through the progress that’s been made over the last 50 years and the work that still needs to be done.
Tony Chapman created the Chatter That Matters podcast to counter the storm of negativity and impossibility with true stories of ordinary people who do extraordinary things. He chats with Olympians, Advocates, Celebrities, Leaders, and people who battled what seemed like insurmountable odds.
In doing, listeners hear life lessons that inspire all of us to do more and to be more, to help us get to where we need, want and deserve to go. RBC is the presenting sponsor.
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