Thursday, July 01, 2021

Canada Day

 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.


ABEhrhardt said...

Let's not ever let these things be silenced again - hatred can't be allowed by default.

Forward is the only path we have control over. You are right to focus there, as long as we clean up the ignorance about the past that still bedevils our present.

Our Western democracies have to do better.

Cindi Freshour said...

I have been so busy supporting people to stop the abuse of people with disabilities, I haven't gotten on the blog. However, Your post has me walking down memory lane. I was very blessed to grow up with many people that on one hand were very inclusive. My grandfather had a Native mother, but was so intolerant of the Black and Hispanic people in our community. My father was inclusive of all people and didn't teach us to hate. I loved my grandparents, but not the bigoted side of them. I struggled with who they were for many years. Then as a young adult I reconciled with my own feelings, by learning from them what NOT to do. I had to understand that, as bad as I thought it was, their hatred was born out of ignorance. Please do not think I'm making excuses. But, I believe our past, good and bad, is a learning tool to move forward. I think it is each generations responsibility to look back, see their history, learn and then make the path forward a better place for all people. I think I have practiced what I preach, because we currently have a 3rd generation (myself 64, my daughter 43 and granddaughter 21) working with people with disabilities and doing it with respect.