Since moving to the west coast of Canada, most notably the unceded territory of the Coast Salish first nations, my eyes have been opened wide. Opened wide to an unintentional ignorance on my part that our federal government aimed to accomplish. The Truth and Reconciliation commission and report aims to change that.
Truth and reconciliation: finding a meaningful path forward in Canada
Over the last three years through my travel assignments but also the open minds and hearts of friends I have made along the way I realize Canada has so far to go. I am speaking about what was done to the First Nations people of Canada, the terrible past of the Residential Schools and the governments attempt to achieve cultural genocide.
I honestly with all my heart believe the average Canadian (or foreigner for that matter) has absolutely no idea how deep this travesty goes. I consider myself blessed to have had others guide me and speak of stories past, present and future on the path to better understanding. To speak with a clearer and louder voice alongside the First Nation people’s I meet, to tell their story and message of what tomorrow is hoped to be.
Canada please challenge yourself to listen, challenge yourself to watch and most importantly challenge yourself to be aware and sensitive of your own actions that your country has indoctrinated into you. Yes there is a cultural bias and racism prevalent in our country that must stop. Yes, you may unknowingly be still acting in a manner of colonialism.
The Indian Act – The Foundation of Canada’s Dark Past
It is also of utmost importance to know about the Indian Act of Canada. This was the law that laid the foundation to systematically strip the first nations culture from Canada. It was also how the Residential Schools came to be in the first place as well.
“The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change.”
John A Macdonald, 1887
For further reading I appreciated the learning in this blog post as an education that speaks to the First Nations way of life and mindset, as I am always curious and focused on mindfulness. Indigenous Worldview . The indigenous mindset and societal view is the next step of awareness once you are ready.
The above link had a paragraph I appreciate “Society operates in a state of relatedness. Everything and everyone is related. There is real belief that people, objects and the environment are all connected. Law, kinship and spirituality reinforce this connectedness. Identity comes from connections”.
Truth and Reconciliation – Learn the truth and You Learn about a Culture
It is time to bridge this cultural divide and support and respect the First Nations of Canada and their sovereignty over their traditional territories. To not stand in their way of reclaiming their culture, language and traditions.
The continued message I hear no matter where I visit or what stories I hear so simple yet so profound. “We Are Our language, Our Language is Us”.
Most notably understand things like the fight of Trans Mountain is about the voice of the Tsleil-Waututh Coast Salish people. The fight of against old-growth logging in Alberni Valley is about the voice of the Nuu-chah-nulth. When we take the time to actually listen to the voices and pull brain washing of colonialism away will the message come across.
I am lucky to have heard from school survivors of the Ktunaxa, the fight for protecting traditional territory from the Piikani or the new treaty the Tla’amin persevered for and achieved.
Who will you be fortunate to listen to?
I still know so little, I still have much to understand but I hope you will join me in my journey to change our future. Please click on the Truth and Reconciliation link and explore the other links above. Watch the two you-tube videos I shared that quickly bring some light on the topic for you also.
A very important resource and movement to join and support is Orange Shirt Day :communities coming together in a spirit of reconciliation and hope because every child matters. Their website shares this as an overview; “The Orange Shirt Society was formed in Williams Lake by the founders of Orange Shirt Day to encourage and support communities to recognize Orange Shirt Day and to support reconciliation events and activities. Our goal is to create awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of Indian Residential Schools through Orange Shirt Day activities, and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters”.
Here in British Columbia We need to ensure the BC Government honours its commitment to the newly passed Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act brought into law last year. It emphasizes the Indigenous peoples’ rights to live in dignity, to maintain and strengthen Indigenous institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue self-determined development, in keeping with Indigenous needs and aspirations.
First Nations Blog Posts Further Reading at Mindful Explorer
Here are a few experiences I have been fortunate to have taken part in and written here on the blog.