The sun is shining on this beautiful morning but as I search through my closet for something orange to wear, I feel the familiar sense of grief rising in me. The sadness is overwhelming and I am unsure how to think and feel today and even less sure what to do. While my coffee brews, I scroll through my news feeds and I am consumed by a heaviness and sinking feeling. What is the best way forward? How can I play my part in the change that needs to happen?
I pre-recorded a performance for a Canada Day virtual event that will air tonight and as I think about it, I feel a slight panic. I did wish everyone a Happy Canada Day and I did acknowledge the Indigenous Peoples of this land but standing here now, it wasn't enough. Should I have said no to the booking? Should I have refused to participate in any celebrations? That doesn't feel good either. But if we want to hold our government and each other accountable for real change, then drastic actions are needed. Taking a stand is needed.
As I read through more information this week trying to get a better handle on how I can truly be an ally, I was shocked to realize that we have done very little to move the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission forward....is it really so shocking though? I mean is it so shocking that the outcome of a government led initiative was more lip service than intention? This is not shocking. I guess what I was shocked about was that I didn't know. The realization within myself that I didn't care to know. Or follow up. The shock was realizing that the idea of Truth and Reconciliation made me feel better. It made me believe that something was being done and I could go about my comfortable life feeling less guilty. And so now, knowing that nothing is actually being done, my own sense of relief has evaporated. But this is how politics works. Feed us the information we need to settle down. Tell the majority what they want to hear to keep order. And stay in power. Meanwhile, the ones who have suffered continue to suffer even as they cry out. Well, I will not settle down on this issue anymore - which is the most ironic of statements given that I am a decedent of settlers.
Enough. It's enough now. Not one single soul living in Canada should be without clean drinking water. Every missing Indigenous woman should be investigated as if it was Mr. Trudeau's own daughter missing. Or mine. Justice for every murdered Indigenous woman should be paramount. Every grave found and marked. Every residential school survivor supported. The truth told in every classroom, every text book. The government and Christian churches of today need to step up and be accountable - they are not immune because of a false perception that this issue is in the past. We need to hold them accountable - today. Because this is all still happening TODAY. The Indigenous Peoples of this land need every single one of us to stand up. To be an ally. To amplify their voices and be heard as a collective. I can see my own Indigenous friends lovingly rolling their eyes at my statement - oh, so your'e finally angry enough now are you? Yes, I am finally angry enough. And I'm sorry it took this long to be angry enough to act.
There is so much we CAN do. Today, I registered for the Indigenous Canada course offered by the University of Alberta for free. Thank you, @instadanjlevy for posting about it today. I'm working on rolling out some programming with Willow Sound Records to show solidarity and promote allyship. I looked up where and how to donate. These are small steps and sometimes they feel empty when weighed against the enormity of change needed. But that's what it will take - all of us taking small steps, all of us moving and marching in that one direction. And it WILL change.
We can do this. We CAN.
I will not celebrate Canada today. I will not take pride in genocide. But I will celebrate being Canadian.
Because if there is anything I am sure of, I believe in us as a people. I believe in the power of human connection. I believe in the vision of what we can and should be as Canadians. I believe we can actually live up to how the world sees us...a kind, compassionate, multi-cultural, caring people. I believe we can heal and be stronger together on the other side of the hurt. In the light of the truth, we will shine. But first, we need to wake to the truth. And we need to redefine what it is to be Canadian so we can live up to our full potential as a people. Together.
We can. We must.
Because we, are Canada.