a thoughtful canada day
the recent discoveries of more than 1,000 unmarked graves and the remains of hundreds of children at former residential school sites have left us heartbroken. chique, like many others, has pledged to turn away from canada day celebrations this year. instead, we want to honor and support Indigenous communities.
we were asking ourselves how we can help the cause of reconciliation. if you have the same question, keep on reading.
1. keep learning
with respect for our cultural diversity, we have to admit that we have done a poor job of learning about those who were here before us. this widespread ignorance of history, inherent biases, and the lack of willingness to do anything about it is systematic racism.
read books, watch videos, listen to podcasts, and the music of indigenous cultures to learn about their vibrant cultures, history, challenges, and societies. learn and teach your kids the complete history of canada.
we don’t just owe it to indigenous cultures, we owe it to ourselves.
2. start the conversation
we can’t move forward if we don’t talk about our problems. this canada day, take an initiative to talk about what’s happening and why.
you can start with talking about current events and why canada day is cancelled. put yourself in their shoes and explain the feelings that are happening for indigenous peoples right now. the sadness, grief, loss, anger, and being in a country where they don’t feel safe. think about how they feel after being constantly let down. canada is their home first. imagine feeling unsafe in your own home.
the feeling of being understood is the biggest gift you can give them!
3. do something good
think about how you can give back. there are many charities and organizations supporting Indigenous communities. issues they face are a result of many things that have happened over the past 153 years. hence, they are complex and intergenerational. you can support young people by inspiring and empowering them to pursue their dreams. consider supporting the work of others through a financial partnership or by volunteering.
here’s a list of charities to choose from.
4. attend events
there are many events held across canada, in-person and online. pow-wow and kairos blanket exercises are the most popular ones. attending such events are practical ways to meet with and talk to indigenous canadians. here you can make friends, learn about their cultures, way of life and concerns.
keep an eye out for such events!
5. be mindful
when talking about indigenous people and the controversies behind canada day, please be mindful to not present their experience as one-dimensional. they are real people, just like you.
their cultures are vibrant, resilient and have survived for many years despite all attempts to crush them. while all the losses are heartbreaking, we are also very happy that despite that part of history, indigenous people and their cultures are still here. even though we learn about them in literature, museums or libraries, these cultures are not an artifact. they are very much alive and we celebrate that. keep that in mind while talking about them.
there is great injustice and pain, there is also reasons to hope and be joyful. one of most powerful ways we can build a better canada is by accepting and empathizing with people who appreciate those who are different from us.
the past and some of the present are shameful, but by raising empathy and awareness, we can raise the new generation that Canada will be so proud of.