2017.05.06

A Toronto carnival masquerade band got in trouble for their appropriative costumes. This still happens. This still happens in Canada.

I am still thinking about this quote from Denise Stonefish, deputy grand chief of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians.

We don't have a lot to really celebrate in terms of 150 years of Confederation.

While I don’t have any big plans (at the moment), I have been caught up in the excitement of Canada’s 150th birthday. I’m reading about Emily Carr. I’m hiking the Trans Canada Trail. I’m celebrating by reminding myself how lucky I am to be Canadian in the world today. I never want to take this life for granted.

But I know that I do. I only have this life because 150 years ago, 36 white men made the European colonization of Indigenous land official. As white Canadians, we must remember that we live on stolen land.

I live on Semiahmoo land. We stole the name for the library. We stole the name for the mall. The band lives on 312 narrow acres of land by the water; we live on the rest.

On July 1st, the city of White Rock is going to have a fireworks display. We’re going to crowd the beach and cheer for loud noises and bright colours. We’re going to take selfies in front of the big rock the city paints white to keep it clean.

Instead, this year, I want you to remember who lived here before us and lives here still. This story of the rock was written by Chief Bernard Charles:

The young man, by now more determined than ever, raised in his powerful arms a huge white rock which stood on the shore. He said to the Princess, "I will hurl this stone over the water! Wherever it falls, there we will make our home and establish our tribe."