Ahh Canada Day.
The day where red, white, and beavers become the center of the Canadian universe. To some Canadians, every day is Canada Day. Every day they wake up in a society they think is in pristine condition, but that is far from the case. But in a sense, you can’t blame them for thinking this way. The Canadian government has done a damn great job of presenting the country as all, well, beavers and rainbows.
How can you celebrate a country that has so many missing and murdered Indigenous women that it is now considered a genocide?
How can you celebrate a country that forcibly took Indigenous children from their families in the Sixties?
How can you celebrate a country that was built on genocide?
And make no mistake, the genocide is still going on but just in a “modernized” way.
From 2000 to 2008, Indigenous women and girls made up only three percent of the population, but accounted for ten percent of all female homicides in Canada. To put that into a better picture, Saskatchewan reports that almost 59% of missing females in that province are of Indigenous decent. The Highway of Tears from Prince George to Prince Rupert B.C. has at least 71-83 victims alone. Being an Indigenous woman in Canada can be deadly.
Incredibly disproportionate right? Now ask yourself: have you heard these statistics before? Did you hear it from government officials yourself? Was it WIDELY broadcasted in depth? Probably not.
The Sixties Scoop is another genocide the Canadian government has committed that many people don’t fully know about. From the 50s all the way through to the 80s, adoption agencies, a.k.a the government, would forcefully take Indigenous children from their families. Their names would be erased, and ads were put up of them in the newspapers for people to adopt. Yes, they really advertised Indigenous children in newspapers during this time.
The inter-generational trauma the Sixties Scoop caused Indigenous people is something that no amount of money will be able to ever fix. The ever-longing thought and wonder of “who am I?” is something that causes more hurt than most people who don’t deal with it think. The idea that you have an entire family out there that you’re unaware of, is a thought that can almost plague your mind. Those who are adopted out of their families and most importantly culture, into white families experience a total loss of self.
Someone once described it as “I can see in the mirror that I’m black, but I still don’t understand that I’m black.”
It’s a confusing feeling that can burn a deep pit into your heart.
And to add, the families of the children who were taken were then usually forced into residential schools. Schools that were built to forcibly assimilate Indigenous people into European culture. The last school didn’t close until 1996 in Saskatchewan, so the notion some have that Indigenous people should just “get over everything” is ridiculous. You can’t get over something that has been consistently going on for years.
What Indigenous people deserve is a voice.
They deserve to be heard. They deserve to be represented. They deserve to be celebrated.
The Canadian government needs to be way more explicit with Canada’s history. No more ten second segments on CTV News about this issue, it is simply not enough.
The full reality of these genocides needs to be taught in the school curriculum. The education system is bias, naive, and sugar coats the reality of what has happened to Indigenous people in Canada. The fact that these things are so unknown to people is unacceptable in a country that prides itself on kindness and love.
To my fellow Canadians, I ask of one thing. Do your research. A lot of the damage is already done, so now the least you can do is educate yourself and in return others. Whether that be through finding an Indigenous owned business to support, becoming familiar on an issue they face, or donating to a cause that supports them, next Canada day still celebrate. Just rethink how you celebrate.