I am an American who has lived in Canada since 1984 so as far as Canadian history goes, I didn’t learn much about it in school (and really, I remember very little about American history either, but that was just me being lazy) and if I’m being perfectly honest, since living here Canada’s history didn’t really affect me so I didn’t really care to educate myself either….. until now. And still I have just begun to scratch the surface of what I know about some of Canada’s history. I am at a point where I NEED TO EDUCATE MYSELF. I hate to think that I have had my head in the sand, but I’m beginning to realize that’s exactly what I have done because, like I said, it didn’t affect me. But I am now asking myself, how can I do better if I don’t acknowledge the good with the bad? Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of beautiful, positive, good history in Canada, but there is also a lot of bad, devastating, horrible and ugly history. There is bad and there is really f’ing bad and that’s the stuff I am learning and talking about today, because it is hitting me and everyone else living in Canada smack dab in the face. It’s uncomfortable, it’s heartbreaking and makes my stomach feel like it is tied up in knots but if I don’t give it the weight that it deserves, how can I ever do any better? I want to do better. I need to do better, I will do better, if not for myself, for my children, for my grandchildren, for my great grandchildren and for others families and loved ones. Did I have a hand in any of the past atrocities that our First Nations peoples have suffered in the past? No, I didn’t. Does that make it any less horrible, devastating and wrong? No, it doesn’t.
If you aren’t familiar with what has been discovered in Canada recently, please do a quick google search about Canada’s Residential schools, I guarantee that you will wonder what else there is that you didn’t know or want to know. I’m going to leave it at that for you to educate yourself as well, because it’s a conversation that everyone should have, we need to talk about it, we need to teach our children not only about the good history but about the bad history as well so we can do differently moving forward. I can tell you one thing – if what happened at these schools happened to my grandchildren, you can be sure I would be raising the roof off this country, and I wouldn’t stop until those who were responsible were held accountable. Somebody knew what was happening. We need to know who and why to ensure that it doesn’t happen again EVER.
Today, know that Canada’s heart is hurting, my heart is hurting. It is a heavy day for so many Canadians and it is with mixed emotions that I am even posting this. I don’t know how to make it better, but I do know that things that have happened in the past, have no place in our future.
So, as Canada grieves over the tragic legacy of residential schools in our country I ask:
May we learn from the past to go forward in the future!
May we celebrate together.
May we mourn together.
May we grow together.