NATIONAL ABORIGINAL DAY: Is Canada Doing Enough?

A male and female performer in Indigenous dress with city scape behind themImage from Kaha:wi Dance Theatre performing “The Honouring” tonight & tomorrow @ 9:15 pm @ Fort York, Toronto, Performances are Free.

No.

Days of recognition are always problematic. There are celebrations for everything from Water to Women. In an age where a well branded campaign can get an issue talk time does the message get diluted when those commemorative days are reduced down to a quick and digestible moment of  cultural exchange?

When I bring up the Residential School System with non-native friends its shocking how no one seems to have much of an idea of what this is and what took place – is still taking place.

Genocides? Only happen in places with exotic names. Not here.

Slavery? That happened in America.

Apartheid? Nope.

Cultural Amnesia? Never heard of this.

Exactly!

Most Canadians no little about the history of Indigenous Peoples here in Canada and their experience of Indigenous culture is at arm’s length – behind glass in a museum, a film with questionable stereotypes, a Canada Day performance.

So on this National Aboriginal Day here’s a challenge for Canadians – let’s start to get acquainted with not only the history of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people but also the contemporary issues that we as a country are connected to and implicated in.

If experiencing the Arts is your way to expose your mind to new narratives that’s great because we have so many amazing contemporary Aboriginal artists in this country and MIXED BAG MAG will continue to post on all the incredible talent. Best part – there’s probably something to experience the other 364 days of the year!

FRIDAY FOOD FOR THOUGHT

National Aboriginal Day: Friend or foe?
By Sarah Hunt for Media Indigena

“Today, June 21, is Canada’s National Aboriginal Day. This morning, like most other days, I woke up, made my coffee, and sat down to read the news. The consensus seems to be that today is a day to celebrate Aboriginal cultures and to remember our vibrant history within Canada.

In the newspapers, stories of celebration and cultural performance encourage all Canadians to learn about us, to let us share our cultures with them, and to celebrate Aboriginals as part of Canada’s strong foundation of diversity. And, like most other days, I also read stories about the ongoing struggles for Indigenous land rights, protection of Indigenous grave sites, and recognition of high rates of violence. Yet I further notice that coverage of these concurrent realities — the celebration and the struggles — seem to be kept very separate, as though they cannot exist together, or are somehow irreconcilable in the minds of Canadians and the federal government.”  Read more on Media Indigena

MIXED BAG MAG recommends joining this important project “Walking With Our Sisters” on their Facebook Group.

Over 600+ native women in Canada are reported missing or murdered in the last 20 years. Many vanished without a trace with inadequate inquiry into their disappearance or slaying paid by the media, the general public, politicians and even law enforcement. This is a travesty of justice.

Walking With Our Sisters is a commemorative art installation of 600+ moccasin vamps (tops) created and donated by hundreds of caring and concerned individuals to draw attention to this injustice.” Read more on www.walkingwithoursisters.ca

Image of the beaded tops of moccasins

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