Oh Canada: Our Home on Native Land
BY: Samiha Mozammel
Canada Day has always been a day of celebration and pride. Canadians have always loved to celebrate their nationality on this day because they are proud they live in such a beautiful country, but should they be?
Canada Day 2020 will be one to remember, but not for the reasons we all believe. People have taken to various social media platforms to express their opinions and shed light on the dark and deceitful history of what Canada was built on. Ranging from broken treaties, missing and murdered women, and the oppression of Indigenous peoples, many have started to ask the same question: Is this day worth celebrating?
It is no secret that the Indigenous populations of Canada have been oppressed and hurt in the past. Many Canadians believe that that narrative has been over for decades, and that the Canada we live in now is nothing like what it used to be. While that can be true on some levels, Indigenous people are still not being heard and seen by both the Canadian government and citizens. First Nations across the country are constantly having to deal with issues that the average Canadian does not have to see. Many reserves have little to no running water and an unreliable electricity line. First Nations have to move cities away just to access schools, but then are bullied for being different. Having the odds stacked against them all their life contributes to the skyrocketing suicide rates amongst this minority group and an overrepresentation of them in prisons. To Indigenous peoples, it looks like the government barely cares about the quality of life they have. Canada has publicly apologized for their actions against First Nations but they show no sign of remorse. To many Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Canadians, Canada Day only glorifies the colonial past Canada has.
But how can we right the wrongs of our country? Understanding the hardships Indigenous peoples face and actively trying to dismantle the systemic racism they endure is the way many Canadians are choosing to celebrate their Canada Day.
Advocate Sheila North says “Instead of acting like the Original People are forgotten and pushing them aside like unwanted children, see them for the strength and resiliency they possess. You can learn from their challenges and help create opportunities for everyone”. Advocating for equal treatments and equal opportunities for all people should always be the goal. Instead of celebrating Canada’s past, actively trying to rid Canada’s oppressive and racist roots is how more and more people are choosing to spend their Canada Day.
The Indigenous peoples of Canada deserve to have their voices heard and their needs met. They deserve equal opportunities to schooling and work, and they deserve trustworthy residential areas with the same amenities the rest of us non-Indigenous Canadians receive. Only then can Canada truly be the true north, strong and free.
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.
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