It's Canada Day and I'm conflicted.
I have always been a proud Canadian, I have loved this land starting with the summer holidays I went on with my family as a youth, right up to the lectures I've given in every province, but one, and every territory, but one. Our country's beauty is hard to describe but brilliant to experience.
But I have struggled with my love of Canada, first as a youth who was discovering his sexuality, to the youth that fell in love with another boy. It was illegal then to be gay, in fact, the word 'gay' did not exist then. I learned that the famed tolerance of Canadians often hid vitriolic hatred. I loved my land but feared the people who inhabited it.
The stories that are surfacing about the dead children at residential schools are not new to me. I learned about the residential schools from friends who were survivors of them. Stories about priestly abuse and government inaction brought about a profound sorrow. How could this be?
In the land that I love.
How could this be?
These are people I know who spoke the unspeakable.
These are people who suffered, I don't know, us.
So today is Canada Day, like many typical Canadians, we celebrate it by not celebrating it. Call for canceling Canada Day if you will, but most of us will go about a typical day off - doing nothing. And that's pretty much what we white people have done regarding this blight on our history. Nothing.
People can do many things in memory of these slaughtered children, but I choose to focus on the future, creating new leaders and new teachers from within the indigenous communities of Canada, we need them and their voices. So, consider Indspire as a place to start.
That Canadian history so brutally treated indigenous peoples doesn't mean our future has to as well.