While people are enjoying the festivities of Canada Day, let’s take a moment to really think about whether we should be celebrating.
Should we be proud of the fact that Europeans exterminated 40 million bison to make indigenous people dependant on a colonial food system? Should we be proud of the way the authorities used the starvation of nations to coerce and force indigenous people onto reservations?
Should we be proud of the over-representation of indigenous people in the prison system and the foster care system? Should we be proud of the inaction of elected officials on the over 1,100 missing and murdered women?
Should we be proud of the tar sands, salmon farms, oil pipelines tankers, mining, non-consensual development and logging, which seek to take the land away from the children, like the children who were taken from the land by residential schools?
Salmon Arm is on Secwepemc land, unceded, and never surrendered by purchase or treaty. People say colonization is in the past but it’s here and now and it needs to be acknowledged, confronted and opposed if there is to be any hope of reconciliation.
As settlers on stolen land, we have to begin the process of unlearning the racism that pervades Canadian society and I think this starts with not being defensive, listening and being willing to change a lot.
When you celebrate whatever you tell yourself that Canada is, you also celebrate environmental destruction, colonial greed and every single racially motivated murder and injustice since July 1, 1867.