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Waving the flag

It has been a week of flag waving both here in my northern roost and south of the border. These days, most of us are glad of the border though we remain just as glued to the realDonaldTrump twitter feed as the rest of the world. But those of us who are glad of that border must also realize that there are many in our own fair Canada who would rather be laying down the law in ways that aren’t quite legal, too.

If there is anything we might have learned from the American election, it is that one can never get comfortable about one’s constituency, no matter how devoted they may be perceived to be. No group of people remains totally silent about what their needs and wants are. To ignore them is done at the peril of those who have a responsibility to respond. The root words tie those two things together. When we fail to notice what is being said or choose to ignore it as insignificant, we find ourselves in trouble. The Democratic Party certainly did.

So what voices should we be listening to here in Canada? For generations, we have ignored the pleas and indicators that Indigenous peoples needed their dignity restored. It’s not that the layers of governments with which our First Nations had treaties didn’t hear us; it was that they didn’t listen. There was no one on the other end of the Call button.

But now, over the long weekend throughout which we celebrated our 150th birthday, another finger has appeared on the button: those who have awakened to the fact that they, too, if they are Canadians, are also Treaty people. The risk of ignoring that demand for help being offered on behalf of our Indigenous sisters and brothers, is too great. It is time for our governments to act.

York Onkwehon we posterOn July 10th, join a conversation at York University that will bring together Trade Unionists and Mohawk Kanenhariyo, a member of the Bear Clan from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory who currently lives on the Six Nations Reserve. Whether you are a trade unionist or an Indigenous person doesn’t matter. Just listening is a fantastic start.

Truth and Reconciliation

At West Hill, the church I serve, we’ve just finished reading all ninety-four recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission looking into the abuses, cultural and personal, that took place at residential schools. Those ninety-four Calls to Action break down into one hundred and sixty opportunities for Canadians to listen to the needs of Indigenous peoples and find ways to alert our governments to do so as well. Joining the conversation at York will be a great first step.

For more information on the ceremony that took place at West Hill to mark the end of our reading and the petition to the Federal Government that we launched the following day, please visit Real Peoples’ Media coverage. You’ll find it here.


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