The Anishinabek Nation is encouraging everyone across the country to listen, learn and reflect on Canada’s history on July 1.
In a release, officials say Canada Day celebrations and events often ignore the impact that colonization has had on First Nations and overlook the ongoing struggle to become an equal Treaty partner.
“Canada Day is often a somber day for Anishinabek citizens as it is a reminder that the sacrifices of our nation go unacknowledged as we continue to face inequitable conditions in many of our communities,” says Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe. “Canada needs to acknowledge that the success of this country is built on the displacement of the original nations of this land. The dark history of attempted assimilation is tangible for our citizens and celebratory events are often ignorant to the memory of our ancestors and to our collective experience.”
He also says it’s important to acknowledge the realities that First Nations in Canada face.
“Consistent under-funding and lack of infrastructure impede access to basic human needs like clean drinking water and housing continue to be persistent, unaddressed issues,” Niganobe says. “Beyond July 1 and the new statutory holiday on September 30, we must actionize systemic change and call for truth and reconciliation every day.”
Lake Huron Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief Travis Boissoneau is encouraging people to wear orange again this year on July 1, like they did last year, in support of Residential School Survivors.
“It was extraordinary to witness so many coming together in unity through marches, ceremonies, and storytelling to convey the important message of the true history of Canada,” he says.
Boissoneau says honouring ancestors and survivors of today is a vital component of long-term healing.
***Written by Richard Coffin