Message to All Canadians…. Indigenous Reality
June 12, 2021
We recently celebrated Canada Day, though not with a true celebration. But how can we? When I think of celebrating, I think of joy and happiness however, I could not bring myself to celebrate Canada Day in the same manner when I was confronted with the reality of Canada’s horrific hidden secrets. I was confronted with the price that Indigenous peoples paid and the trauma that they have endured and continue to endure to this Day.
The hidden history told by the hundreds of stolen children’s graves uncovered at the sites of former residential schools ran by the Catholic Church and State was a heart rocker. It was numbing, angering and unforgiving. The discovery of these young Indigenous jewels is not yet completed so the open oozing hearts of this community will continue to take generations to close and heal.
This year’s Canada Day for me was a day of full reflection and appreciation for Indigenous peoples. I reflected and appreciated Indigenous peoples for the lands that they provided for me and my people to flourish and thrive on, and I thanked them for their stewardship and for preserving this place for us settlers. These recent horrific discoveries remind us that Indigenous peoples have paid for this land with their blood and suffering. We owe them for preserving this land for all people who came after them. ALL PEOPLE. Yes indeed, we all came after them!
Non-indigenous people must not look away. Canada Day and every day moving forward must be a day of reflection. We must come together to help build a stronger, fairer and safer Canada for all people in general and for Indigenous peoples in particular. We must be committed to stand up in unison of the truth about the history of First Nations peoples so that history does not repeat itself. This truth might be hard but remember, this truth must come before reconciliation.
Image 1: A family walks through a field where flags and solar lights now mark the site where more than 750 unmarked graves were discovered at the former Marieval Indian school in Saskatchewan on 26 June. Photograph: Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images
Image 2: Cranbrook, B.C., via Global News
Image 3: Children at residential school, footage via CTV News Regina
Image 4: Kanien’ka:haka (Mohawk) children at Mohawk Institue building 1925, British Columbia
Image 5: https://paherald.sk.ca/2021/06/24/crime-scene-of-unmarked-graves-uncovered-by-cowessess-first-nation/
Image 6: Shirts by Christine Marie, owner of Awasis Boutique.