It’s 2017 and Canadians are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the British North America Act. The official government of Canada website encourages Canadians to “celebrate all that makes us who we are as a country.” As a white settler enjoying life on stolen lands and broken promises, I am unable to join in this celebration.
I don’t remember learning much about First Nations, Inuit or Metis peoples at school. I know for a fact that I learned absolutely nothing about treaties, the Indian Act or residential schools. In fact, it was as an adult that I realized at least four children I went to school with and called friends were First Nations children who had been taken from their families of origin as part of the Sixties Scoop.
Indigenous nations were of benefit to explorers and settlers until their usefulness was dwarfed by valuable resources the land and waterways held. Once the scales tipped in favour of commodities, Indigenous lives became expendable.