More needs to be done for true reconciliation
On Sept. 30, I had the opportunity to join other community members at THE MUSEUM in Kitchener for their event “Honouring Truth & Reconcilliation through the Seven Grandfather Teachings.”
Upon arriving at the event, I was surprised and happy to see the sheer number of individuals who had gathered together to celebrate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Through the presentation (which ran from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 pm.), I found myself thinking about the meaning behind the day and the fact that many will stop thinking about our country’s history as soon as the clock strikes midnight.
While it was nice to see the number of attendees with orange shirts to support the Indigenous community, it also served as a glaring reminder of the “aesthetic” nature that can overtake this incredibly important holiday.
Yes, it’s all fine and good to buy an orange shirt that has been created by an Indigenous vendor – however, it is not all that should be done.
Many enjoy getting on their social media “soapbox” to show their support on Sept. 30.
I am not immune to this myself, having posted that I was at the event after the fact.
However, education on the meaning of the day should not stop there.
It is easy to forget as a European Canadian that the land we live on was not ours to have. Despite the fact that we like to forget about it the other 364 days of the year, we are living on stolen ground.
While we cannot go back and tell off our ancestors (as much as we’d like to), the work that we can do now to right historical wrongs should be in the forefront of our minds.
During her presentation, Margaret “Peggy” Pitawanakwat provided a glaring reminder:
“When we look at the residential school, the 60 Scoop, the Millennium scoop. What is the next scoop?”
I truly hope that I will not see the next scoop in my lifetime, or have it ever happen again. However, the amount of fear and hatred presently in the world does put us in a precarious position.
However, there is hope for the next generation – as Pitawanakwat describes:
“We need the correct educational information in the schools so that this next generation that’s coming up will be given the proper history and the proper understanding of how to move forward.”
In order to right wrongs of the past, we must teach children of today the true history of Canada – and why things need to change.
I am aware it is comedic that I bring this up during a time where the education system is seeing a lot of strife – groups spurred by fear wanting to rewrite the curriculum.
And yes, we do need to rewrite the curriculum. Just not in the way they think. When I was in grade school and high school, I was not aware of indigenous history whatsoever.
On some level I was aware that I was not from this land, but I had no idea of the true horrors that lay in Canada’s past.
At most, it was a footnote. At least, it wasn’t mentioned at all.
So, seeing all of the children gathered for this event at THE MUSEUM, I have hope that the next generation will be more educated than I was.
As the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation passes and people tuck their orange shirts away, I can only hope that the conversations continue.
It is not just a holiday, but a day to remember – a day to contemplate our country’s dark history.
We can do better, and be better.
Don’t let the conversation stop at the close of Sept. 30 – education is a lifelong journey, and only together can we promote true change.