Another Look at Canada Day

canada-indian_mThis is an outsider’s view of Canada Day celebrations and Indian people being part of such celebrations.

Canada’s birthday. What does it mean to me as an Indian, as a Beothuk, as a Micmac, as a Maliseet, as a Mohawk, etc. I can say in all sincerity that it doesn’t mean anything to me and it doesn’t do anything for me except conjure up thoughts of the loss of our spiritual homeland along with the loss of our birthright to live as our ancestors lived for thousands of generations – free, happy, healthy and in peace.

Having lived on this portion of our Earth Mother known as Turtle Island (North America to the Euro-Canadians) for the last five hundred million years, can I now celebrate with the invaders; the taking of our homeland in order for them to build their nation?

Having been considered an outsider, a stranger in my own land for last five hundred years, can I now celebrate with white invaders who stole our land simply because these white invaders now say that we should forget what happened in the past and let bygones be bygones.

But I have to say to you – How can you ask that of me, when from my vantage point, the basement of this nation, I can see just how unstable and shaky your country’s foundation really is. The instability is present due to what the foundation is made from. Which is the blood, flesh, bones and lives of some one hundred million of my people. Also included in the make-up of that foundation are things like violence, genocide, racism, greed, lies, deceit, fraud and stolen lands.

So I must say to you, that you don’t know what you ask of me when you ask me to celebrate your Canada Day. Maybe if it were to be renamed the Theft of Canada Day, maybe then.

Maybe it would be easier for me today, to celebrate your Canada Day if back five hundred years ago your ancestors had the respect, the love, the compassion, and the spirituality to sit down and talk with my people as equals, as fellow human beings and speak to them about your dreams, your aspirations, your humanity, and your spirituality. Maybe now there would be reason to celebrate. Maybe if one hundred and thirty years ago, your ancestors would have asked our ancestors to sit down and talk together as equals about building your nation upon our nation. Maybe now it be something to celebrate.

Maybe if you had recognized our spirituality and our humanity.

Maybe if you had acknowledged our rights as nations and our rights to the land.

Maybe if you had accepted my people as equals, as a people worthy of your love, respect, compassion and understanding.

Maybe if you had reconciled with my people back one hundred and thirty years ago, maybe today we could live in mutual respect, peace, harmony and unity in this land we know as Turtle Island.

Our respected and wise Elders feel that even after all of the violence, the genocide, the racism, and all of the destruction which has been inflicted upon our people, that the possibility of our living together in unity and peace within the sacred circle of life in love and mutual respect can still be accomplished, in fact they say it must happen if we are all to survive, provided that these four steps (recognize, acknowledge, accept and reconcile) are taken by the descendants of those European invaders.

All My Relations,
Dan Ennis
June 21, 2014

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