Guest Post by Melaney Lyall
July 1, 2017 There’s a big national birthday party planned celebrating Canada’s 150 years of Confederation from 1867 – 2017
Well, 150 years for part of Canada; BC 146 years; Saskatchewan and Alberta 112 years and Nunavut only 18 years!
The Indigenous people have welcomed people since the first visitors ever arrived on our shores now known as Canada. The many place names have their meanings that connect our First peoples to the land. You will recognize the following place names derived from indigenous origins: Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Yukon. In BC, Cariboo, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo and so many more!
Indigenous means ‘of the land’ and we have been here since the first sunrise. The scientific measure of carbon dating places us here from 9,000 to 14,000 years!
So, the First People’s have a different perspective on the Canada 150 celebrations.
The history of first contact to this celebration of confederation for the Indigenous People’s is a legacy of forced assimilation, eradication and cultural genocide. This national party reminds us how much more work needs to be done in this country towards reconciliation.
I encourage you to go and celebrate Canada150 with your family and your neighbours in your cities. Celebrate as you witness our First Nations, Metis and Inuit people rising to share with you our many cultures through drum songs and sacred dances. We are revealing what our ancestors held close to their hearts, we are sharing our stories, our connection to the land and our spirituality. This is our act of resistance as we reclaim our cultures and traditional ways.
Over the summer find First Nations events such as the numerous powwows across North America! Be intentional in learning about the Indigenous Peoples through community engagement, books and resources; youtube and google are your friends! Remember there are two sides to this story, this narrative of Confederation.
We are being given an opportunity to change history for generations to come. Listen and hear the stories and teachings of the First Peoples. One by one, my people are being set free from captivity and we are rising to our place as stewards of the land where the blood of our ancestors cries out for justice.
Be the change in this country, in your city, in your community and schools.
We are stronger together, O, Canada.