White Privilege; White Responsibility in Canada
I am white but I write with the magnanimous support of my academic healthcare colleagues, students and friends who are Indigenous. Seeking, confirming and upholding truth leads to accountability, action and ally-ship. In Canada we are in the nascence of seizing truth and committing ourselves to reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers, sisters and 2SLGBTQQIA people,(2-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual people). Ancestral lands are being reclaimed through a legal process, First Nations health authorities are self-administered, social and occupational resurgence and flourishing of dignity is occurring in the wake of the inter-generational trauma and discrimination of colonialism.
A hundred fifty thousand children over 4 generations were abducted and DE-cultured of their language and identity by being separated from family in Christian (residential) boarding schools. The tragedy lies in estimated 4,000 unmarked graves due to TB, abuse, malnutrition, neglect, electric chairs, medical experimentation even rental out to pedophile rings. Stolen children who survived did not know to whom they belonged nor where to return. Parenting became obsolete. Solace for distress and displacement has oft been found in the use of substances that perpetrates inter-generational trauma. While Indigenous people make up only 4% of the population of Canada they comprise 40% of folk living in ghettos. Pope Benedict expressed his sorrow for the suffering of the Indigenous people in Canada’s residential schools to the assembly of First Nations’ National Chief, Phil Fontaine in April of 2009. Apologies are not enough.
In the last decade, the cases of hundreds of missing women (their precious faces shown above) were not investigated by abjectly negligent police forces. Women disappeared hitchhiking on vast highways that lacked public transport. They vanished from ghettos in the line of street work. All too late a serial killer was found videoing untold rape-murders. He rendered their bodies into sausages on his pig farm 2 hours from the downtown core where he lured primarily Indigenous women.
We acknowledge the strength and resilience of Indigenous people worldwide as they reestablish their languages and cultures. Restitution of land, health, the promulgation of historic truth and restoration of authority is required to facilitate forgiveness; both being prerequisites for reconciliation.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” – Ambrose Redmoon
“Reconciliation will NOT be achieved if one side believes it is based on the recognition of rights and the other believes that it is an act of benevolence.”
-Senator Murray Sinclair, First Nations lawyer, Ojibway Nation, traditional name; Mizanay Gheezhik meaning “The one who speaks of pictures in the sky”. Chair of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 2009–2015
Trusting us and ours to hope, health, happiness and harmony.