Oh Canada?

I don’t know how I feel about Canada day to tell you the truth.

I know it’s our “big” 150th birthday – but what exactly are we celebrating?

I would like to say that Canada day celebrates the union of a beautiful country, rich in history, in culture and in potential.

But I can’t say this.  Not with a straight face anyways.

The anniversary of our constitution was, in some way, the moment we all decided as a group of (colonial white) people to claim land that wasn’t ours – call it our own, give it a name (when it already had one) and push away the people who were already here, or just weaken them so much to the point where they have forgotten who they were meant to be in so many cases.   Same as in the United States – a bunch of Irish, french, Spanish, British immigrants – yes immigrants, who decided to bully indigenous people from their lifestyles and land.

Is this what we are celebrating? Our ability to dominate and bully – for 150 years?

It’s true that today that we all have a different and in many cases very beautiful relationships with each other.  I have some very dear and close first nations friends. When i was growing up, i was told the stories in our classes and was taught the pride and beauty of the first nations culture.  I feel like we came from that – not that we took that from them.  In my generation, we went to school all together, and we grew up knowing each other just as children with all different kinds of families and ways.  Just the way kids do.

But recently I was doing some art, and i was warned that i may be accused fo “Cultural appropriation”, because of the traditional indigenous style I am exploring.  It was intimated that it was not “my right” to do art in a style of first nations cultures, because it was not my culture.

Let me tell you how I feel about this.

The spiritual beliefs that I learned about through the stories and from my father who lived in the prairies on a reserve as a boy , taught me about love, and connection to nature, respect and about helping each other.  I grew up believing first nations people had “special abilities” to hear what nature said, and to help heal if that was needed.

In my younger adulthood, and through my years of studying and learning about the world, I came to see that the only real solution to our world’s serious and debilitating issues is for people to understand and learn from indigenous people about what they know about the planet – the land and the energy that runs through us all.

But I see now – even they have forgotten this.

This can sound harsh to you maybe.  The First Nations people of both Canad and the United States have been abused in ways that are not even conceivable to most people.  Their women raped murdered and missing.  Communities overwrought with misery, young people committing suicide – they have been pushed away and slaughtered by our ancestors.

There is a reckoning that must occur.

So what are we celebrating?

Let’s assume the celebration is a personal thing.

I will celebrate my pride in this country that despite even these serious internal conflicts has managed to keep its shit together amidst some pretty serious world turmoil

I will celebrate that they are renaming the “Trump” hotel in Toronto, because Canadians can’t stand that guy.

I will celebrate the breathtaking land we live on, and the bounty it offers us.

I will celebrate the artists dancers and musicians, writers and poets who so awesomely demonstrate the diversity of this place.

I will celebrate that I do not live in the United States.

I will celebrate that I can say, do and express what I feel without rancor in this country.

I will celebrate that we love having new people join us and expand our culture.

I will celebrate that people are becoming more aware and trying harder to alleviate the strife of our first nations people.

I will celebrate that we have peace.

that we have food and people we love.

Yes. There are many things to celebrate.

Happy Canada Day – EVERYONE.







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