Every Child Matters on Canada Day: a personal apology to the First Nation's community
July 1, 2021
Category: Featured / Transformation
Growing up as a first-generation Canadian, family and relatives give praise and gratitude to the government's open immigration policies; allowing them to come to Canada and feeling supported through programs making their settlement as comfortable as possible.
When studying Political Science with a focus on Canadian politics, I developed a love of constitutional law to help address the various types of oppression in society, including institutionalized oppression.
The increased publicity on the treatment of the children through the residential schools has stirred a lot of emotion in me; and my passion for seeking justice in situations of oppression.
Today is Canada Day, and I acknowledge that many of the blessings I have in my life are due to political leaders creating policies giving my parents the opportunity to emigrate and create a new life with new possibilities. However, I can’t ignore the reality of Canada and the suffering experienced by the indigenous community from the same instituions (including religious leaders). Being blessed with dual citizenship, I am living in Italy, and it has given me space and distance to reflect on what this holiday means to me today. As I ask this question to myself, I am immediately stirred with so much emotion; anger, gratitude, sadness, rage, shame, disappointment. I admit that I am allowed to be grateful for the opportunities I have being Canadian while acknowledging that my heart breaks with sadness, filled with anger and embarrassed that leaders could do such a thing to another human being, a community, and fellow citizens.
Regardless of my direct role in these acts; being Canadian and a global citizen I am responsible. Why? Because as humans, we are one. We are all connected. And what has hurt one of us, hurts all of us. We have all experienced or know someone who has experienced some form of oppression. We have empathy and can feel the helplessness these children experienced at the hands of people in authority; people we are told to trust, as their titles and positions suggest they are in positions to protect us and guide us.
Canada prides itself on being a cultural mosaic; accepting all cultures and embracing their cultural diversity making our nation stronger as a result; allowing us to learn and grow through this acceptance.
If this is true, then it’s time to come together as Canadians and a global community to support this community in continuing to heal through love, support, and acknowledging their loss, and pain. In one way or another everyone must accept their role including citizens, government, church, etc by taking responsibility for how the human species has participated with this specific act of oppression, or any other.
I will start. I am sorry that You, your families, ancestors, and the many communities had to go through this horrific experience. That you were taken from your safe homes, being told that you would be safe with better opporutnities and it simply was not true.
I hope my apology begins to bring you peace, love, and healing.
***Artwork taken FB page: VEC Canada.