Thursday, September 30, 2021

National Day of Reconciliation

It's the National Day of Reconciliation in Canada today, a good thing but very much a thing in the making still.  A public holiday for federal employees, but emphatically not a "holiday." An event very much driven by Indigenous agency, but one in which non-Indigenous people are either to take the lead or, well, not to take the lead.  This will all take some evolution

I heard Murray Sinclair the other day saying Reconciation is essential for non-Indigenous Canadians; the onus is on them.  And I see what he means.  But in recent months one notices, beneath the politenesses and the gentleness and the accommodation frequently given us by indigenous people, there has been breaking through signs of the deep, deep anger and bitterness among indigenous peoples at all that has been done to them by Canada, by us.  That will not go away easily; Indigenous people do need to be reconcilied to us if we are to make progress, and that will not happen quickly.

No answers here. But I do suspect in the long run reconciliation hangs not on residential schools, or missing and murdered indigenous women, or boil-water advisories, or statues, painful and urgent as those and other recmatters are.  Reconciliation depends on a treaty implementation to a degree few Canadians have yet contemplated: one that understands the treaty relationship as one based on sharing, and in which sharing mean that creating a situation in which indigenous governments have a tax claim upon Canadian territory and resources that enables them to function independently, to be accountable to their own communities, and to provide a decent subsistence at least to all their people.  At that point serious reconciliation on the other matters becomes conceivable.

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