…Because of Canada

I was thinking about celebrating, reflecting, and remembering. It is something we do as a country, particularly around November 11 each year. We think about the people who died for Canada.

With Canada Day today, I want to think about the people who have died because of Canada, particularly the Indigenous people in Canada.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, who have died involuntarily because of Canada. Some of those have died at the direct hands of Canada through policy decisions. Others have died through generations of families being robbed of the opportunity to raise their children, resulting in high rates of suicides, addictions and other too familiar statistics.

Statistics, on the surface, can point to the victims as the cause of their own situation. Digging beneath the numbers, the generational links to today create a definite cause that started by a deliberate federal policy, supported by a nation sustained by ignorance – willful or not.

Last year’s Canada Day was the first non-celebration for me. The Canadian myth has been shattered, but not the goal of that myth. It is still a worthy objective – still worth recommitting to achieving it and being an example to the world.

We have a long way to go.

Last year I posted a link to a copy of Treaty 6 on my Facebook page. I had just finished reading it. There it is in black and white.

The path towards reconciliation and compensation was always right in front of me. I need to stop doing to and start doing with Indigenous people.

Until the reopening of the attraction after a $165 million expansion, the creation of Fort Edmonton had held little to no references to Indigenous people. A big part of the expansion is an area called ‘The Indigenous Experience.’ This was started several years before the finding of the first 215 buried Indigenous children in Kamloops. This development started with a true partnership with the descendants. It opened to rave reviews – described as well beyond a museum. It is a must-see destination for visitors to Edmonton.

Please give this a bit of a think. Can you lower the celebration and raise the reflection component of your personal Canada Day? What does that look like? Can you turn this reflection into action over the next year?

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please leave your comment.

Photo by Guillaume Jaillet on Unsplash

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4 thoughts on “…Because of Canada

  1. Patti+Dolman says:

    The people of Saskatchewan have found an outlet for their outrage over the inhumanities inflicted on the the children of residential schools and I get that. I personally feel more anger with the Catholic Church who mostly facilitated the dismantling of their culture . Yes the government supported it but it was the priests and nuns who so righteously did the damage. Canada Day is supposed to be a celebration of the birth of Canada but I wont criticize those who choose to commemorate it by mourning.

  2. Judy says:

    The aboriginal priest organizing the papal visit was concerned his grandmother, as a former residential school attendee, asked her opinion o& his chosen vocation. She said she had known many good nuns and priests. Thompson Highway, awards winning aboriginal , says he owes his current life to his residential education. We rightfully acknowledge the hurts of survivors, but can we also acknowledge the positive stories?

    • glenn says:

      It is a tough thing to do. There is overwhelming evidence of so much harm that has flowed throw generations.

      If, as a society, we were to give proportional airtime for the good/positives it would be barely noticeable.

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