Today, reflecting on the meaning of Canada Day, I am thinking about my parent’s decision to emigrate to this wonderful country almost 70 years ago.
I remember, as a small child, my aunt saying to me ‘Speak English, we came to Canada to be Canadians.’
I have always been very proud to call myself a Canadian. First as a Dutch Canadian, then somewhere along the line the word Dutch was dropped and I simply became a proud Canadian.
I saddens me deeply, as I become more educated about the true losses suffered by our Indigenous peoples. The loss of their homes, their economies, and most of all, the loss of their children. Through the hands of our churches, and, of our governments.
I am hoping that this Canada Day will be marked as the beginning of truly righting the wrongs that were committed. Righted, so the true healing may begin, and that we, and the world, can learn from the wrongs commited in our past.
In the summer of 2014, my family and I, along with my cousin from Kamloops, attended the 35th annual Kamloops Pow Wow. One of the largest celebrations of First Nations culture and heritage in Western Canada.
On our walk from the parking lot to the Pow Wow, we passed a large, grey, dark building. My cousin educated us on the original use of this structure, the Kamloops Indian Residental School. We could feel the cries and sadness that eminated from the building.
In sharp contrast to the beauty, the power, and strength, of the Pow Wow.