Porcupine Season 1 Episode 1

CLI Elders Discuss Reconciliation

With: Rodney Burns, Stan McKay, Garry McLean
Reconciliation: Elders Rodney Burns, Stan McKay, and Garry McLean

You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above or by downloading it in Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google, or your favorite podcast platform.

Help new listeners discover Porcupine by leaving us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. Have a question, comment or suggestion? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments below. 



  • Rodney Burns
  • Garry McClean
  • Stan McKay

       In This Episode


  • Merrell-Ann Phare
  • Michael Miltenberger

     Related Tags

About This Episode

Collaborative Leadership Initiative Elders Rodney Burns, Stan McKay, and Garry McLean, discuss reconciliation.


In this episode Merrell-Ann and Michael discuss reconciliation with three elders: Rodney Burns, Stan McKay, and Garry McLean. They attempt to define the concept of reconciliation for Porcupine listeners. They talk about their concerns, fears, experiences, and hopes for the future. 


Why You Should Listen


When we talk about elder statesmen from the First Nations community, none are better at crystallizing their wisdom than Garry McLean, Stan McKay and Rodney Burns. Let the wisdom begin. 


About Our Guests


Garry McLean


The late Garry McLean (Zhoongi-ghabowi Ininah-standing Strong Man)  was from Lake Manitoba First Nation. He was fluent in the Saulteaux Ojibway language.  Garry spent most of his career working in the federal or provincial governments, and assisting and advising First Nation’s politics.


Garry was the lead complainant in a 2009 class action lawsuit against the Government of Canada.  He represented Indigenous survivors of Indian Day Schools who suffered abuse and loss of culture. Those represented were also left out of an initial settlement for survivors of Indian Residential Schools. Subsequently, a settlement with the federal government was finally announced in December 2018. Sadly, Garry passed away in February 2019 after a brief illness. 


Stan McKay 


Stan McKay, who was the 34th moderator of the United church of Canada, and the very first Aboriginal person to have held such a post. Now Stan works on reconciliation issues full time.


“Without the work of Stanley John McKay and many others, Canada’s Aboriginal peoples might never have heard the two simple words they had waited hundreds of years to hear from a Christian Church: we’re sorry. It happened in 1986 at the 31st General Council of the United Church of Canada, the country’s largest Protestant church. An apology to Aboriginal people was issued, thanks to the work of Reverend McKay and his partners on the National Native Council of the United Church.

Six-years later, Reverend McKay became Moderator, the highest spiritual position possible in the United Church hierarchy. The prefix “Very Reverend” has been part of his name ever since. By becoming the first Aboriginal person to lead the United Church, serving from 1992-94, Reverend McKay had again made history. First ordained in 1971, this Cree from the Fisher River Reserve in Manitoba, has been at the forefront in joining Aboriginal spirituality with the teachings of Christ.”

(via inspire.ca)


Rodney Burns


Rodney Burns is one of the longest term and most respected mayors in Southern Manitoba. The Association of Manitoba Municipalities gave him a long service award in 2013 for the for his 25+ years of municipal service.


Rodney, Stan, and Garry Say:


>> 03:10: “The first time I heard of the term reconciliation, I knew someone who had a small business who had their financial statement and at the end of the day, they had to reconcile at the bottom. They have to reconcile. Okay. Make it makes sense, practical sense. And so I think reconciliation is making practical sense out of a history that has torn us apart. That is to say, a history that has made no sense.”


>> 03:56: “They call it welfare, but it’s not welfare. It’s dependency payments. The hope was we would disappear. There’d be no more Anishinaabi. No more Creek. We’d be integrated in a way that our value systems would disappear. And we’d all be just citizens of Canada. Well, it’s not quite that simple.”


Our Community is Afraid of Change


>>12:23:  “Our community is afraid of change. The Indian act exists in part because of our fear. We can’t see change as helping us because at every turn we’ve been marginalized. That is to say, our voice has not been heard.”


>> 13:13: “I have hope, but, but it’s a hope that waivers every, every morning when I wake up, I wonder what new challenges, what new expressions of racism I would find as I live my day.”


>> 13:39: “The spirit and intent of the treaties was that we have life together in a good way. And I think collaboration for me is really getting back to the spirit of the treaty.”


>> 16:34: “I don’t for a moment, believe it’s going to be easy, but as long as there’s a table where there’s conversation about collaboration, I want to encourage it. I want to encourage people to be a part of it.”


>> 17:03: “It’s possible for [historically separated people] to become friends and share stories. And, and you see things happening that our history has denied as possible.”


In This Episode



Other Ways to Enjoy Episode 1:


Season 1, Episode 1: CLI Elders Discuss Reconciliation Transcript

How To Help

You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above or by downloading it in Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google, or your favorite podcast platform.

Help new listeners discover Porcupine by leaving us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. Have a question, comment or suggestion? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments below. 

Episode 0: Meet the Hosts – Merrell-Ann Phare and Michael Miltenberger

Episode 1: CLI Elders Explain Reconciliation with Stan McKay, Garry McLean, and Rodney Burns

Episode 2: Northern Reality and Reconciliation with Tony Penikett – Part 1

Episode 3: Northern Reality and Reconciliation with Tony Penikett – Part 2

Episode 4: Water and Reconciliation – CWRA Live Taping

Episode 5: The Role of Indigenous Taxation in Reconciliation with Manny Jules

Episode 6: Indigenous Economics and Reconciliation with Andre Le Dressay

Episode 7: Sports and Reconciliation with Patti-Kay Hamilton

Episode 8: Indigenous Law, Consent and Reconciliation with Bruce McIvor

Episode 9: Hip Hop and Reconciliation with Crook the Kid

Episode 10: The Importance of Treaty Land Entitlement with Laren Bill


  1. Angela Mulgrew

    Tuesday Sept 15th Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

    Hello, I found you through a search of the hosts names of this podcast, which were briefly mentioned at the end of the Sept 11th event, for the start of the 2nd season, hosted by Creatively United for the Planet*. My ears perked up when John O’Riordan mentioned RECONCILIATION and MANITOBA. *

    Now in 2020 I’m an Australian/Canadian/Irish non-Indigenous senior retired person, who was raised in Winnipeg ‘s West End by immigrant Irish parents. My first husband (a teacher) and I lived in Snow Lake, Manitoba from 1970-77 where I produced two children, and we also had our first experience as Foster Parents, to one 13yr old boy (non-Indigenous) and then a 9 year old boy (Indigenous) over a two year period. Eventually we returned with our two children to live closer to family and educational opportunities, especially for myself and the children. We settled in Wolseley before it was considered Yuppyfied. I had learned about involvement in a small town, local community while living in Northern Manitoba and the glaringly obvious economic and social divide beyond Duff’s Ditch around Winnipeg.

    Anyway in a nutshell…I gradually got involved in all things family and community, small ‘p’ & large ‘P’ left politics, feminist activism, and furthering justice and well being, while also raising children, including fostering and caring for other needy children and teens, studying (BA, MCP-City Planning) and divorcing.

    By 1992 I had married an Australian and moved to Ballina, NSW, where as a newcomer and Community Planner, I immediately sought to learn all things Australian, including about Aboriginal First Peoples through an Adult Ed course on Traditional Aboriginal Culture taught by an Aboriginal person. And, given it was the start of the 10 year Federally mandated and supported Reconciliation Movement (following Recommendation 7a in the Bringing Them Home Report), I also took part in regular community Study/Learning Circles as a NSW Australian For Reconciliation and then incorporated all aspects into my professional community engagement work. As a newcomer I was much more open than entrenched others around me! Another divorce, another move…to work and live in Queensland and even greater involvement, which led to me asking Elijah Harper, when he was here at a conference, “What are they doing about reconciliation in Canada?” As result, by 1999 I was back in Winnipeg to promote the Australian Model of Learning Circles (Stan McKay attended one of the intro sessions) and began doing so through work at City Hall and Indigenous community connection, and many trips back and forth. … See one of the outcomes: Manitobans for Healing and Reconciliation on Facebook.
    I’m going to enjoy your PODCASTS ! Thank You.

  2. Angela Mulgrew

    What are the dates of your previous Podcasts? Where do I find that noted on the page or site?

    • Merrell-Ann Phare

      Hi Angela! What an interesting story! All of season one was taped over the last year and change, but the episodes are timeless. Reconciliation is such an important topic. I’m glad you are enjoying the episodes. Stay tuned for season two!


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