Why I’m not celebrating Canada’s 150th today

Blond, blue-eyed, as fiercely Canadian as they come. But I don’t feel like celebrating anything today. I just can’t find any feelings of happiness or celebration about Canada turning 150 as a country today. OF COURSE I feel proud and excited about all of the phenomenal things that the people of Canada have done and accomplished over these 150 years! The lands and people of Canada are woven into the very fabric of my soul.

I just feel sad and ashamed of my country today. I feel ashamed that the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people don’t share in all that’s being celebrated. I feel ashamed that Canada rates 1st in the world for so many things, and yet continues to deny a whole group of people those very same benefits that the rest of us enjoy.

But most of all, I feel ashamed that children are still committing suicide, children are still living without clean water and adequate health care services and decent housing – and hope – even after my government has been found guilty of discriminating against Indigenous children by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, and ordered to make things right.

I can’t celebrate knowing a year and half later, we still haven’t made things right.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting that my friends or family or anyone else should stop celebrating! I’m not doing this as a protest. I simply don’t feel like celebrating when I know so many Indigenous kids and families are angry and hurting, and even more so at the very fact that the rest of the country is celebrating and happy when they are not!

Today I just feel sick, and ashamed, and deeply sorry.  So on this very memorable Canada Day, I can only promise you that I will continue to do whatever I can do, in my small way, to reconcile, and help to make things right.

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About Cathy Beach

Recently retired elementary teacher and outdoor educator in rural Ontario, Canada. My Olympic Journeys may be over, but they lead me into some very exciting adventures with teachers and kids and the world of connected learning...
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One Response to Why I’m not celebrating Canada’s 150th today

  1. lisamnoble says:

    Thanks, Cath. I struggled at a small-town celebration yesterday when the band broke into This Land is Your Land. Mr 16 made a comment that helped me realize how uncomfortable the song was, and we headed out. I think sometimes as people who work with kids, we feel the inequity that indigenous kids live with in a different way.

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