We are coming up to two national days of recognition here in Canada: National Indigenous People’s Day tomorrow, June 21st, and Canada Day on July 1st.
The summer solstice, June 21st is an important day in First Nations culture and so an appropriate choice for recognizing Indigenous Peoples in Canada. But just a few days later, the country turns its attention to a celebration of Canada and all she stands for.
This year, as I try to do every year, I will be taking the time to educate and uneducated myself. I’ll strive to learn more about the wrongs that my government continues to inflict on our First Nations communities as well as other people of colour and I’ll work to un-learn the biased history I have been taught. And I will be thinking of the collective failings of all of us that have forever changed how I view the country that I have always loved so much.
Some sad facts
I’ll be acknowledging the following stark, grim realities:
- As of May 24, 2022, there are 67 communities in Canada without clean drinking water, most of them Indigenous. Some have been without clean drinking water for decades.
- An investigation found that police officers repeatedly ignore and breach the Charter Rights of individuals they are arresting. Disproportionately, police commit these breaches against people of colour.
- As of June 9, 2022, investigators have found 2,300 graves at former residential schools across Canada. Another 19 sites are yet to be investigated.
- Climate Action Tracker has rated Canada’s efforts to meet its commitment to hold warming at or below the agreed-upon limit of 1.5°C Highly Insufficient along with countries such as New Zealand and Egypt but also Kazakhstan and China.
- Another convoy of demonstrators will invade Ottawa with the intent to stay for the summer. They will re-stage their illegal protests from February of this year against mandates that now no longer exist.
Yes, I still love my country; I know so many people who are equally committed to change and doing what’s right. And there is no doubt that it is one of the most diversely beautiful countries on earth. I do love it. Still, I will not be attending any Canada Day celebrations. I will not be waving my flag. There is too much work to be done by too many to be proud on this day. So I will start with me.
If you’re looking for ways to reflect this Canada Day, here’s a place that offers lots of great ideas.