This article may be triggering and includes mentions of genocide and other sensitive subject matter. If you need emotional assistance, the National Indian Residential School Crisis Hotline can be reached at 1-866-925-4419.
On June 23rd, we received more news about unmarked graves found at a residential school in Saskatchewan. Coupled with the other grave sites found at Kamloops, B.C., this just goes to show how much death and crime has been covered up. Innocent kids who lost their futures at the hands of these “schools” taint Canada’s past and present. As time goes on, who knows what more will be discovered because one thing is for sure – there is more death and destruction that is affiliated with these “schools.” Despite these atrocities, little effort has been made to help Indigenous communities. For instance, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada posed various calls to action ranging from sectors, such as child welfare, to language and culture, health, and various other areas. However, a lot of these calls remain unaddressed – despite it being 6 years since the TRC posed these demands.
Additionally, anti-Muslim hate is also on the rise. Women in parts of Edmonton are afraid to wear their Hijabs, and the Muslim family murdered in London all conveys a very specific message – Canada is not a very accepting society. You can look up any YouTube video talking about Islamophobia, and you will see a ton of comments from anonymous White supremacists claiming there isn’t any anti-Muslim hate in Canada. Not only are we not accepting of other religions, but we are also not as accepting of other sexualities. In Toronto, a man was beaten and had homophobic slurs hurled at him during pride month.
These types of crimes are all getting more exposure now than in the past due to various protests, using our social media platforms, and petitions; however, these instances have always been part of the Canadian experience for minorities. As such, with such hateful and unwelcome sentiment, why should we celebrate Canada Day? The loss of more than 1,000 children to these residential “schools” should be a nationwide call to mourn, rather than celebrate on Canada Day. Not only is this insensitive, but we need to read the room before showing off our patriotic gear and mimosas. The government needs to meet demands, enforce everlasting change, and start paying for the harm they have caused Indigenous communities. We must do more and not turn a blind eye to injustice and the loss of life.