Canada Day 2021: Reversal

It’s hard to reflect on much else today besides #the215 #the182 and #the 751. We know there will be many more; Indigenous folk have been telling us the same for decades. Why were we not listening? But now our eyes, ears and hearts are open and we can no longer look away. We must be brave enough to do so.

Once upon a time, I would have felt pride and joy on such a day. But now it’s all changed. The discomfort, the shame, the horror are great; the crumbling myth of the supposed tolerance, openness and kindness of our nation is now laid bare. As an artist, but foremost as an educator, I feel compelled to use my voice to speak these truths. More importantly, I wish to allow the knowledge of these truths to spur myself and others into action. The time for apologies is over. Sorry will never, ever be enough; we will be saying sorry forever.

What needs to happen now is that on every level, in every meaningful way, we need to stand up for our Indigenous brothers and sisters, acknowledge the wrongs and go about setting them right. The fact that for the first time ever, neighbours on my street expressed their grief by flying their flags upside down and tying orange shirts to their verandahs is a powerful statement of the change that is coming. For the first time ever, rather than mindlessly drinking and BBQ’ing, setting off fireworks in celebration of this country we call Canada, folks from all walks of life, all races and religions, gathered together to march for the children, to mourn for the parents, to reflect solemnly on our past and our present and pledge to do better. This is all of our work to do, and the path will be painful. I know we are up to it.