It was a very unusual Canada Day, wasn’t it? In some ways, it was even more unusual than last year’s Canada Day in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic’s first wave, but there was a lot of room for some kind of outdoor festivities, but there wasn’t much in terms of will. In the aftermath of our frightening new understanding of our own history, is there a better way to mark Canada Day in 2021 than protest?
In May, it began with the discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Then in June there was the discovery of 751 graves on the grounds of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan and an additional 182 graves at the the former St. Eugene’s Mission School near Cranbrook, B.C. found just last week. New searches will begin soon at places like the Mohawk Institute and the St. Albert Métis Community, and who knows what will be found.
Ignorance is the issue. A poll last month said that two-thirds of Canadians knew little or nothing about Canada’s residential school system, a fact that both stymies healing, and ensures that the victims of residential schools will continue to suffer in silence. Four of the 94 calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation report have to do with education, and insuring that the history of residential schools and the trauma they created are known by every Canadian. But where to begin?
The obvious place is with the people most affected by what happened at the country’s residential schools, the Indigenous people. Presented without commentary by the podcast’s usually obnoxious host, we will hear from the line-up of speakers at the Cancel Canada Day protest and march in front of the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate downtown. Co-organizer Maura Winkup, 1492 Landback Lane spokesperson Skyler Williams, and local agitator Xico Lopez were among the speakers during that protest.
Let’s press play on the voices of our local Indigenous community on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
You can hear an interview with the organizers of the Cancel Canada Day march on this past Monday’s podcast edition of Open Sources Guelph, and you can see the Politico coverage of the march here. If you’re looking for a way to help, you can give to the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society, True North Aid, the Legacy of Hope Foundation, and the Orange Shirt Society.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.