With the recent events in the United States surrounding the murder of George Floyd, I am reminded of Canada’s own dirty history of racism. Unfortunately, racism is still rampant in our country. It’s time for those of you who don’t believe racism exists here to open your eyes and see what’s going on.
Until my friend, John Houston, posted articles on my Facebook timeline, I had no idea about the atrocities of the residential schools. In fact, I knew nothing about residential schools. It wasn’t something taught in our Canadian history curriculum.
My biggest concern now is the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in our country. It’s rarely spoken about and in my humble opinion; we must discuss it and discuss frequently.
The number of our Indigenous sisters missing or murdered exceeds 1100. 1100! One missing or murdered woman is one too many. Where are they? Who took them? Why were they murdered and unceremoniously left behind?
Why doesn’t anyone seem to care what happens to them? Why has there been no justice for these beautiful, intelligent human beings?
They deserve respect. They deserve love. They deserve justice. Their voices deserve a voice, but no one is listening.
Is it because they’re not white? And because they’re not white, their murders and disappearances don’t matter? I happen to believe they do matter and my mother would believe the same. My mother’s best friend growing up was Miꞌkmaq princess, Maggie Paul. Maggie had also served as Mi’kmaq chief before her death.
When I lived in Iqaluit, I was witness to the Inuit anger and resentment towards the white people. Even while in the middle of it, I understood why they did. Their history with the white man was abhorrent. The white man raped, abused, beaten, and murdered them; all because they considered Inuit as subhuman.
I do have to admit, though; I resented the slings and arrows flung in my direction, and I believe I unconsciously mistreated them in return. I believed I was racist towards them, even if I didn’t mean to be.
It wasn’t until I wrote my Arctic memoir; I realized what I was doing was wrong. I was categorizing an entire group of people based on the actions of a few. It was unfair of me to do so.
I had made many wonderful friends throughout my time in the Arctic, including Dene and Inuit. They are lovely people and I refuse to allow a few rotten apples to change my views on that. I needed to take a good, hard look at myself and change my thinking.
Those in charge of the crimes against our Indigenous sisters need to do the same. Their lives matter as much as everyone else’s. They don’t deserve to have their bodies discarded like trash and their cases ignored.
We need to stand up and give our voices to the situation at hand. Maybe if enough white voices ring out in peaceful protest, our sisters will not have perished in vain. And maybe, just maybe, we can keep them from going missing or senselessly murdered.
Save Our Indigenous Sisters!
PS–Recent headlines have shown extreme mistreatment of our Indigenous brothers by police officers. Canada should be better than this. We can be better than this.
I’m tired of seeing pictures of beaten and battered Indigenous people. It has to stop and it has to stop immediately. We need to stand up and voice our objections to these beatings. It’s time to hold people accountable for their actions.
Come on, my fellow Canadians. Let’s save our brothers and sisters of colour!