Opinion: The facts about Canada Day
- Alyson Bear | September 15, 2019
For the month of July …Oh Canada… where do I start.
Oh Canada, our home on Native Land! Honestly, I choose to opt out on the “celebration.” I have strong feelings about the genocide that has taken place and continues to take place for there to even be a Canada.
I have come to a place in my life where I know and understand that this land and country that is free, rich, vibrant, full of diversity has caused serious harms to my people and it continues to point the fingers at us as if we dug this hole ourselves. The facts are that intentional colonial policies and laws were set in place that caused this harm and created intergenerational trauma that has been rolling out in our communities and families.
If you celebrate Canada day that is fine. I mean most people do it but please at least, understand that the economy is built on infrastructure that is not only killing Indigenous peoples but Indigenous land. “Violence on the land, violence on our bodies.” This is home for everyone too so end of the day it is not only Indigenous peoples who are feeling the effects of capitalism.
If it was not for the “rich” resources this beautiful country offers, then there would be no economy. The thing about that is the revenue derived from draining, ripping apart the land, deforesting mother earth and driving animals to extinction has built this country into what it is and that revenue has not been shared with the first peoples of this land either.
Indigenous peoples continue to be overincarcerated and overrepresented in these systems/institutions but underrepresented in the professions and jobs that keeps our people locked up, so who’s benefiting? Not Indigenous peoples. I call myself Dakota before I’ll call myself Canadian. These borders were never here since time immemorial; this is turtle island.
I have the right to not have to take part in social events that celebrate the ongoing depletion of Indigenous peoples and land. Most non-indigenous people go and enjoy their cabins by our most beautiful lakes across Canada, meanwhile many First Nations are living with boil water advisories and that’s a fact.
Everyone knows or should know that the MMIWG 2SLGBTQQIA inquiry released on June 3, 2019. This is a 1,200-page final report with 231 "calls for justice."
The report includes recommendations to government, the police and the larger Canadian society to help address the rampant levels of violence directed at Indigenous women, girls and people. We also need to be educated around the truth of our country to be able to come together and help support each other. We need to create safe spaces for one another to be able to grow.
Holding onto old comfort zones is not where growth happens. That is why I am saying to people who want to be an ally to be informed and to not always depend on the few Indigenous students to do all the work to educate and “indigenize” colonial institutions and non-indigenous students. I see it all too much many places want to take their part in reconciliation but they allow the few Indigenous students or workers to take on the brunt of the work while they juggle their job their workload/school-load and everything else that is going on in their lives that might be dysfunctional due to these exact findings.
So, I suggest when doing research for assignments that you choose topics like this so you can study, reference, and learn it. I know from experience focusing your work around issues that are about the genocide of your people is not easy work.
When you write reports on the forced sterilization of Indigenous women like my friend did and to see how that is still happening to this day is an emotional and triggering process.
These human rights violations need to come to light and be addressed to move forward. You are only harming more people the more you deny the facts. The truth will always keep showing up is the thing people seem to forget about are the natural laws.
In the age of technology if you want to comment on Indigenous matters please do your research. We should be on the same side for all the children of tomorrow. Let’s evolve our minds, families, communities, policies and laws. We are beautiful diverse Nations from across turtle island. The future is now we are the 7th generation the old ones talked about. We owe it to everyone who came before us, we owe it to ourselves, our children and our children’s children.