Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, a day that recognizes and celebrates the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.
Over the past few years, I have made a conscious effort to learn more about these peoples, avoiding sources from a distinct colonial perspective (for example, government-approved, high school history curriculum), and opting instead for reading material written by indigenous authors.
Whereas I might skimp and save on some of the New York Times bestsellers I read, it is supremely important to me that I purchase this Indigenous reading material and read the sometimes difficult stories that are shared.
Supporting the artists is the least I can do. Sitting with my discomfort is a small gesture in the grand scheme of things, one that attempts to acknowledge all that was taken from our indigenous communities and all that continues to be denied.
A good friend who works for a community health care unit in Vancouver recently shared the text that she uses to sign off her work emails. It reads « I humbly acknowledge that I live and work on the unceded territories of … » and proceeds to name the affected nations.
I wish there was something equivalent that I could use to sign off my work emails but this province has a long way to go when it comes to acknowledging systemic racism, never mind stolen land. If I feel frustrated and powerless in the face of this denial, I can only imagine how the Indigenous communities feel. A day of recognition is a good thing but it isn’t enough to make a real difference. We need to walk the walk the other 364 days of the year.
2 thoughts on “June 21st: National Indigenous Peoples Day”
Beautifully said Sharon. You have inspired me to buy and read the stories of Indigenous people. It is important to support these writers and artists so that their stories and our history do not disappear
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Thank you, Marisa. It makes me very happy to have friend to share these stories with. ❤️