Today is Canada's National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a photo of a post on the corner of our property, right by the road, in Southwestern Ontario.
When my hubby and I met, we were both proud Canadians, always beaming on Canada Day, ready to wave our Canadian maple leaf flag and wear our red and white shirts. But since the pandemic, the discovery of children's remains at former Indigenous residential schools and doing our own learning and unlearning, last year, I said we are NOT putting up the Canadian flag. I said we need to stand with the first caretakers of Canada's lands, Indigenous folks.
My hubby was not happy but he obliged.
I looked into land acknowledgements, I've visited the three reserves near our home and I've done research and am listening and learning more all the time. And I'm speaking up.
Then the Freedom Convoy showed up in Ottawa at the start of this year and the Canadian flag took on more meaning for me. To me, it stood for privilege and white supremacy and for the disregard of folks who don't hold that white privilege. But my hubby feels we should take that back, that we, as allies, should show we are supportive AND Canadian. I'm still uncomfortable with flying both, but I compromised. (The Every Child Matters flag is considerably bigger than the red and white.)
Ironically, we will be away on Canada Day this year. We are taking a little break, like we do every year, by Lake Huron, at an Indigenous reserve called Ipperwash.
I'm bringing a couple of books along, one was a suggestion from a feminist friend. I'm excited to read both:
Today is a day of reflection, of respect and honour for Indigenous people in Canada.
I'm certainly not proud of how our government and the Catholic Church treated Indigenous folks in Canada, and I'm not proud of how complicit I have been in the past, not studying, researching, stepping aside and speaking up when I could have.
But I continue to learn, get it wrong, feel uncomfortable and have uncomfortable conversations, sometimes, like the one above, in my own home, because having those conversations is long overdue for many of us. I'm proud of trying to get it right but learning in the process that I might be wrong.
It's the only road to true healing for all.