215 reasons why, and that’s just the beginning

Posted on July 01, 2021 | By Dawn Chafe | 0 Comments

 

Globally, Canadians have a reputation of being too… nice. Even the Saturday Night Live crowd mocks us for being sorry for saying sorry. And let’s be honest: we’re aw-shucks smug about it. The Holocaust was in Germany; slavery was in the American South. Nothing like that could ever happen in the Great White North. 

Great White Charlatans is more like it.

No xenophobia or bigotry in Canada? Tell that to the sole survivor of the Muslim family mowed down by a domestic terrorist in London, Ontario. Or the Indigenous families whose children were kidnapped from their homes to be starved, abused, even killed at residential schools. Tell it to the First Nations communities across the country who were forced from their ancestral lands and segregated onto reserves.

Even our national anthem is a lie. 

For most Canadians, this is not our home and native land. That title rightfully belongs to the Indigenous people who lived here for thousands of years before it was ever “discovered” by colonists. This, all of it, was theirs: the water… the land… the resources developed from both. All stolen from them because military might somehow made it our “right”.

Born to a white person’s privilege, I believe I have an obligation to at least try to see the world from an Indigenous person’s perspective. How would I feel if this was my heritage? The closest—but still nowhere comparable—comparisons I can come up with are Churchill Falls and Mount Cashel.

Open from 1898 to 1990, the Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s perpetuated decades of physical, emotional and sexual abuse against the boys in its “care”. More than 30 years after it closed, I don’t know anyone who would tell its victims that their suffering is in the past, that they should just “get over it”.

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