#CANADA150 DO BETTER: #BarbaraKentner

REPOSTING FROM FACEBOOK (authour Dave Cryderman)

To Barb Kentner,

We’ve never met, but I want to say I am sorry. I’m sorry you had to go through life in a world so hostile to you that it killed you. I am sorry to your family and to your daughter as they live through that as well. I can only hope that death brings you some peace and refuge, and that we can move to see past your victimization to stories of how valuable, loved, and strong you were.

I have been struggling with wanting to say something to you and to the community at large. Something honest, if ugly, and when I heard of your passing the first words to come were an apology.

I wasn’t in that car, and it wasn’t me who threw that hitch, but Brayden Bushby is my responsibility. At one time or another growing up, every white man in this community has known, enabled, turned a blind eye to, or engaged in the sort of behaviour that had Brayden thinking what he was doing was ok. I think about that a lot – about the times I’ve seen, heard, watched and participated while small acts – cumulative acts – of erasure and dehumanization unfold.

The attack you endured and your death has brought so much emotion and energy to the surface in this town. It worries me to see it invested back into a system that never wanted you. A system that killed you. As someone who has benefitted from this “business as usual” system my whole life, I feel I need to be honest about the world that Brayden and I were made in and the nature of our abusive relationship to you:

The “justice system” was never meant to serve you or your family. It was designed to serve Brayden and I, and to criminalize you for the ways in which you survive, and cope. Yet we expect it to be different, to change, to reform.

The police were never designed to serve and protect you. They were designed to protect Brayden and I from you when you stand up and resist. Yet we expect them to be different, to change, to reform.

The federal government was never meant to care for you, or to intervene and provide oversight or solutions when justice isn’t done. They’ve been waging war, trying to kill you for 150 years so Brayden and I can live comfortably on your land. They’re my government, not yours, and despite the nice words and recognition they may put out, they will never need you the way they need me. You’ve only ever been in the way, a problem to be dealt with. In that world, where trailer hitches are a solution, we expect them to be different, to change, to reform.

Brayden and I have been in training since we were kids. Singing the national anthem every morning and building identities designed to overwrite your existence and see you as less than human, as savage, as disposable or as something from the past so that we can get our cut of the cash from exploiting your land.

I know you’ve lived this stuff your whole life, but I wonder if a white man has ever been honest with you and told you any of these things directly. I feel like I owe it to you, your family, and to the community, to take responsibility for being honest about our abusive relationship because it will not stop. We’ll keep on killing you and dehumanizing you because that is what we’re built to do. Every appeal to the system that made us to “do something” or “step in” will only serve to further legitimize what is inherently illegitimate, and strengthen the bond of our abusive relationship.

I’m sorry if that’s harsh, but it’s the truth. If we’re ever going to find ways to build healthy relationships as the community moves forward after your loss, we’ll need to start from there.

Rest in Peace Barb.