We all want to feel good about what Canada stands for. From progress on LGBTQ rights, to communities coming together to support new immigrants, to modest steps toward reconciliation, there are reasons to be proud of how far we’ve come in 2017.
But are we prepared to move beyond pride—to acknowledge just how much more work needs to be done?
Canada was founded on stolen Indigenous land. For at least 150 years, public policy—including the residential schools program—has attempted to make Canada’s first inhabitants disappear, physically and legally, as distinct peoples. This much was, once again, made crystal clear in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015.
Today, Indigenous people in this country experience shocking levels of poverty, inadequate access to clean water and housing, disproportionate levels of arrest and incarceration, unequal levels of health care and education, the exploitation of their resources, and the regular abuse of treaty and land rights. Aboriginal women are murdered or go missing at rates far above any other part of the population.