How will you be spending July 1st this year? Some may continue to celebrate Canada Day as they always have. This includes some Indigenous peoples, and many settlers. But many this year will be mourning. Mourning the ancestors, children, peoples who never returned from Residential School, the collective history we are all a part of through living on this land regardless of how or why we ended up here. Allies will be grieving with those who are trying to gather the shattered and scattered pieces of our collective history, and actively working towards reconcilation.
This is the time for empathy. “Empathy says, “I’m going to do the hard work of imagining what it may be like to be in your lived experience so I can appreciate what this may be like for you.” Empathy is where connections are made, and healing takes root. Empathy says, “I see you. I hear you.” Now is the time, more than ever, to empathize with Indigenous peoples as we continue our learning. If you’re on social media and you’re not hearing Indigenous stories perhaps it’s time to intentionally seek them out and diversify your feed. You can start by following Idle No More, Reconciliation Canada, and the Woodland Cultural Centre.
If you’re in a place where you are willing to engage further, here are some of our other recommendations for how you could spend a portion of your day, and every day moving forward, furthering reconciliation across Turtle Island.:
–Discover whose land you reside on, what treaty it falls under, and the history of that treaty from an Indigenous perspective
-Learn a few words from the original language used in the area where you live, and use them when addressing public crowds.
-Familiarize yourself with the 94 calls to action
-Pick one of the 94 calls to action and act upon it
-Take note of the collective progress towards the 94 calls to action, and hold our government, churches, and settlers accountable for making progress
-Book a virtual tour of a Residential School through the Woodland Cultural Centre
-Choose one of the 231 calls to action and start moving towards it
We appreciate this is a lot to take in. If you are an Indigenous person and are looking for support please reach out to your local Friendship Centre, the Indian Residential School Survivor Society, We Matter, or the Hope for Wellness crisis line (support is available in Ojibway, Cree, Inuktitut, English, and French.)
If you are a settler, before you judge, before you take a hard stance, listen and learn from an array of perspectives…especially those whose voices have been historically marginalized. Sit with what you’re learning. Allow it to move you. And, when it does, we hope you’ll engage in one or some of the resources above, and actively participate, as we are committed to doing, in honouring the strength and resiliency of the Indigenous peoples whose land we’re on.
If you are already doing these things, Chi Miigwetch. We thank you.