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"Some people said, 'well there is racism in Canada but there is no systemic racism.' And to those people I said, 'You've clearly never read the Indian Act, because it reeks of systemic racism.'"
The Right Honorable Brian Mulroney, Canada's 18th Prime Minister, is National Chief Perry Bellegarde's guest on this latest episode of the Akhameyimok Podcast. They discuss climate change, overcoming systemic racism against First Nations people, the sweeping recommendations for change in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, and the leadership lessons he learned in leading the international fight against the white minority Apartheid regime in South Africa and for the freedom of Nelson Mandela.
Brian Mulroney was Canada’s Prime Minister from 1984 to 1993. In that time he oversaw the negotiation and implementation of the US-Canada Free Trade agreement, and then NAFTA. He initiated important environmental reforms, including the Acid Rain treaty with the United States. He was also at the forefront of attempts to make the Canadian constitution more inclusive, trying to bring Quebec into the fold with the Meech Lake accord and then the Charlottetown Accord. He was Prime Minister during the Oka Crisis, thirty years ago this summer, which led his government to establish the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People. It made sweeping recommendations on how to restructure the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
A special thanks goes out to the Red Dog Singers of Treaty 4 territory in Saskatchewan for providing the theme music for this podcast.
The Ahkameyimok Podcast is produced in Ottawa by David McGuffin of Explore Podcast Productions.