Happy Canada Day!

I was born and raised in Canada, and can happily say it is the best place to live in world, and I’m extremely proud to call myself Canadian.

The country is celebrating it’s 150th birthday and when I saw that Indigenous people were making (what appears to be) a protest out of it, while I understood their view, I felt this photo (I believe from Adam Ellis) described my feelings:

But it was wrong of me to think this way, for after reading many articles here, our First Nations/Indigenous people have suffered greatly and continue to suffer to this day. What has happened to their people feels very un-Canadian to me, but at the same time, I think their anger at the general populace is misplaced at times. It IS my responsibility, as a human being to not ignore the fact that all Canadians should enjoy the same rights and equality that I do.

There are a surprising amount of hardships that are unique to them as Canadians and there are great stories about their lives on the CBC.ca news site which I’d recommend reading and learn that it is not just about money and restitution:
basic human rights (lack of food, education, clean water, housing, mental health services

preservation of one’s culture (tattoo significance, language, traditional dance)

massive loss of land via colonization, and broken treaties by the government

peace/justice/protection/safety (missing and murdered Indigenous women)

It was the right thing to do, to allow the Indigenous people to have a place in the Canada 150 celebrations. What would have been better would have been to proactively reach out to the First Nation communities and see whether they wanted to organize and participate in our celebrations around the country. Inclusion, rather than exclusion. There have been great injustices against their people, but it’s up to every Canadian to do better and work towards a better future.

To me, celebrating our country means:
– being proud of the country and people who make it up and the values they cherish.

– remembering the history of it, both good and bad.

– part of that history are the indigenous people that they were there back at the beginning and continue to live with us, side-by-side today.

– to become a better Canadian today than I was yesterday.