Here’s what I know about Canada’s shame.
I’m in my 40’s (and, I’m sure like most of you) I didn’t learn about Canada’s actual history in school. I didn’t learn the truth about what Canada did, about the Sixties Scoop, or Residential Schools. We didn’t learn about the atrocities, the horrors and abuses. We learned about Pemmican and Bannock.
Seriously. At my Catholic School that was what I learned about. I envisioned some magical places where people were living off of the land. Naturally, happily.
That was a lie. It wasn’t just a lie it was manufactured to keep us divided.
To keep us separate. If they kept us separate than we wouldn’t be able to find out the truth. The terrible, terrible truth.
I didn’t know until yesterday that the Canadian government would develop a system by which to determine what survivors of childhood sexual abuse could attain as compensation from the government because there were so many reports. We know the numbers on reporting. Think of how many survivors didn’t report, think of of how many survivors didn’t survive.
This is the truth about how a system that was been designed to break people, kill people, murder them and their way of life, steal their children, and then they committed the most heinous crime of all. Abusing them. Colonialism is cruelty.
Ancestral trauma is real, and what we learned in school about the original people of this land was total bullshit.
I hope all Canadians. I mean you — Settlers, Descendents of Immigrants, Immigrants, Colonizers and Descendents of Colonizers are seeing what we should have been seeing so long ago. This country fucked up. It is still fucking up and we need to recognize that we have all of the tools we need to stop it. We might even have a leader who could make it happen with enough pressure. What hasn’t stopped it so far is racism, capitalism , colonialism, and a Prime Minister who is still fighting survivors in court.
It’s been years since the findings of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and recommendations. Our government has failed to live up to its promises. It’s our national shame that so many Indigenous and Inuk communities across the country do not have the access to the same social services as the majority of Canadians. Most Canadians finally know the realities of so many Indigenous communities still living without access to clean water. Most of us know about the way the RCMP use violence and terror when they think we can’t see.
When the mass grave of 215 Children was found in Kamloops the first thought in my mind was:
“What did they know and when did they know it?”
The second thought in my mind was
“how many more?”
How many are still out there being held in the ground like secrets?
We need to know. We need to reach them all. There isn’t going to be a way forward in this Country without us uncovering the real history of Canada. We need to know everything if we’re ever going to try to celebrate something that looks like Canada Day.
We have no business being the best place to live in the world when the first people who lived here still don’t have access to clean water. Trudeau may be cute, but his follow through isn’t.
Then I thought of the survivors, the descendents of survivors. The last residential school closed in 1996. I was almost finished high school. There are survivors who are younger than me. It’s time for us to do the heavy lifting on this. It’s time for every single one of us who benefits from the privilege of living on this land to get in the game. We don’t have a draft in Canada, but consider this your call to service. This country needs more than an inquiry, we need to look at the land. We need our government to hold the Church Accountable, We need the government to listen instead of talk. We need to change everything.
I love where I live but I don’t love how it was built.
This country is built on blood and terror and it’s time we as settlers in this country do what we should have been doing generations ago. We should have been demanding accountability. We should be demanding that not one more Indigenous or Inuk child is taken from their culture. That not one more man, woman, two-spirited or child, suffers in silence without resources. That until every single community in this country has access to clean water we will not stop calling, writing or showing up.
215 children deserve our voices.
We need to think big. We need to demand more and we need to do what I know we are capable of as people who live in this Country. We need to talk to everyone we know. We need to get loud. We need to get educated.
Colonialism should pay for both the historical horrors and the horrors of today. Some of the money that we will save defunding the RCMP for community policing. Because, the atrocities at their hands continue. According to a 2017 CTV News analysis, an Indigenous person in Canada is more than 10 times more likely to be shot and killed by a police officer than a white person. Between 2017 and 2020, 25 Indigenous people were shot and killed by the RCMP, Canada’s federal and national police service. Unfortunately the go to police service in most remote areas of Canada. The same police service that once came to the homes of Indigenous families to take away their children.
Right now. Imagine them tweeting their sadness about the mass grave in Kamloops. Imagine that this happened to your mother and her whole family. Imagine that she has to deal with the RCMP if she needs help. Would you call? I wouldn’t. I’d do everything I could to stay far away from any contact with the government. This is Canada. This is current.
This is what it means to defund the RCMP. It means we start again. We let go of believing that this was the best way. It isn’t. It wasn’t and it will never be. We need to accept what that badge has grown to represent and make something new.
It’s the only way forward. Real change. Not just lowering of flags or memorials.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot the last few days. I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse myself. I know what it does. I know how heavy it is because I also work with survivors. I know how many amazing services exist in this Country for people like me.
I know the fear of walking into a police station 30 years after my abuse to talk about it for the first time because I was so tired of being afraid. I know that if I’d have been an Indigenous woman I wouldn’t have gotten the same level of care, access or services.
That makes me feel ashamed to live here. It makes me feel sick to my stomach that the most heinous crime on the planet is so prevalent that Canada needed a guide for applying for compensation.
What can possibly change something like this?
A leader and money. I think there’s a really simple solution. It’s been right above our heads this whole time.
I think the Crown should pay. I mean literally. The Windsors have lots of crowns, and jewels and antiquities they have stolen over the years. Money doesn’t fix everything but it will help, and it’s time for the woman on our money to pay up. She has stacks. What are they doing anyway? Do we want to be part of this? I don’t. Can’t we leave the colony now?
For all of the agreements we never kept. I say we, because I’m a Settler here. It doesn’t matter how many generations ago parts of my family immigrated here, or where they came from, it matters that I live here because someone else doesn’t. We stole. We lied. We cheated. We didn’t keep our end of the deal. This was designed to be cruel. They thought about it. Colonialism created ancestral trauma. Colonialism allowed it. The Catholic Church needs to be held accountable. What a nice coincidence that they also have so many treasures. They should pay too. There’s a lot of land to search, a lot of pipelines to cancel, a lot of clean water to get moving.
We can do it. Because we’re the best country on Earth.
It’s time we earn that honor. Until we use our privilege to change it we’re as guilty as those who put those children in the ground. Many hands make light work. We all seemed to enjoy pulling up a chair for Gord Downie for the last Tragically Hip show. Let’s remember what he said, and now we can understand what he meant by calling out Justin at that show.
Gord said Justin would “Take us where we need to go”.
Giddy Up JT.