Canada Day provides a chance to reflect and acknowledge our history and culture. It’s an opportunity to get together with friends and family, even more so this year as the pandemic restrictions are lifted today. I, like I’m sure many of you, are truly grateful for the time I get to spend with my loved ones more than ever after being separated for so long.
I am also cognizant Canada Day brings up negative feelings for many, especially within the Indigenous community. The patchwork of the genocide committed against Indigenous peoples covers this entire country. The recent discoveries of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential school sites has been a blunt reminder of the long-lasting wounds inflicted on Indigenous people by the residential school system and which have been passed down from generation to generation.
I’ve heard the call for the cancellation of Canada Day and I’ve also heard the passionate voices of those who want to celebrate it in a bigger and brighter fashion. As we have seen over the past 18 months, division within our community is not a place that is kind or understanding. However, I believe we need more kindness and patience for each other, now more than ever.
I encourage our community to take the opportunity to listen and to hold space for those who feel vulnerable and scared right now.
So while many in our community will be celebrating today with patriotic pride, there will also be many who are feeling raw, angry and hurt. One is not right and one is not wrong but together we can practice kindness, empathy and understanding.
I encourage you to take this opportunity to learn more about residential school and the legacies of our colonial past. You may even wish to honour those children who lost their lives in these institutions by wearing orange or place a teddy bear or children’s shoes on your doorstep.
I hope the time with your loved ones is memorable and be sure to stay safe and cool in what is sure to be a very warm day.