This Canada Day I am remembering the 215 Indigenous children that lost their lives at the former Kamloops residential school. I am remembering the families that lost their children. I am remembering the communities that lost the blossom of their future. The losses suffered by Canada's Indigenous Peoples are staggering.
While I am incredibly proud of Canadians and their kindness, as an Officer of the Court and as a mother, I am ashamed of my country's history. Children no different from my own were taken from their families. So many never made it home. The rule of law failed them completely. Canada was the aggressor.
Residential school survivors and their communities have carried this burden too long. We all have a role in sharing it. This Canada Day, my family will continue to take time to atone for this atrocity in the following ways:
Continue the important conversations with my children on the cultural genocide committed by Canada through the Residential School Regime and colonization.
Continue to educate one another on the injustices experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Build courage in my children to be effective allies and advocate on issues of equity, equality, and anti-racism.
Reread the book Shin-Chi's Canoe on Canada Day, by Nicola I. Campbell, and ask what obligations we have as Canadians to one another:
What do our families and loved ones do to keep us safe and healthy?
What does our city/country do to keep us safe and healthy?
What should Canada do to honour the lives of the children who never made it home?
Challenge myself and my colleagues to always do better by Canada's most vulnerable.
This Canada Day, I offer the following encouragement. In addition to celebrating the beautiful country our nation has become, I also encourage you to take time to reflect on the lived experiences of Canada's First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Take time to learn about their resilience, diversity, heritage, and history. Honour them.