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Why undermine the importance of Canada Day?

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on July 07, 2021 with No Comments

Former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia that indicate the remains of an estimated 215 children could be buried at the site has been a sensation.   Shortly after those mass graves were found, #cancelcanadaday began trending on social media.  Meanwhile some communities across the country announced they weren’t going ahead with planned events for July 1.  And now, with revelations of potentially 751 unmarked graves at the Marieval Indian Residential School at Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan,  calls for cancelling Canada day has grown even bigger.  The accidental finding of these two mass grave sites has been a bone chilling experience for Canadians. 

There’s no pride in genocide, rather the grief so attached in finding of these graves is unfathomable.  However, the discovery of these mass grave sites has given Canada a bad name as a “genocidal country”.  This brings back the past that reflects on intolerance, racism and inhuman treatment of Indigenous and other ethnic groups.  We may have been slow to recognize this reality, but Canadians as a whole have not shied away from recognizing and acknowledging these wrongs in time. Canadians also recognize that our government institutions continue to be slow in their investigations and political parties don’t shy away from exploiting the situation.

Vandalizing statues and monuments, burning churches and cancelling Canada Day activities is no way to resolve atrocities of the past. Such activities only widens the gap between the people. This must stop and there must be accountability.  

The importance of books in schools and libraries that accurately record the history of Canada can’t be undermined. Students need to be offered courses that create an opportunity to learn more about Canada and its formative years. More such programs in the form of documentaries can also be a good tool to bring the real history to the generation next.  Make better use of our Indigenous knowledge keepers, encourage them to share this knowledge. Create a more welcoming atmosphere for dialogue so that all feel free to exchange thoughts and ideas.

There are questions being asked: “Why would I want to celebrate the past?” and “Why would I?”. Its mainly about changing the total perspective on the celebrations.  The celebrations of the Canada Day would take us closer to our history, heritage and a would serve as a quick reminder of our rich multiculturalism.  Cancelling Canada Day won’t solve the problems that the Indigenous communities face.  No one can deny the fact, that Canada is home to immigrants and its Indigenous communities and as a matter of fact all still live here and have to live. Canadians have to make the most of it and move forward and not just be resilient and not just survive, but learn how to thrive in their lives.  We must reconcile our societies because, let’s face it, none of us are going anywhere. But ultimately, what better time than when Canadians want to be side by side with Aboriginals and join in their pain and their celebration?


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