The ‘Who’ of colonization?

When struggling through the Interim Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, it became confusing as to who was supposedly doing the colonizing? The confusion was taken even further after watching Chief Commissioner Marion Buller on Vassy Kapelos’ West Block program on Global Television last week.

Leaving aside Commissioner Buller’s re-assuring words, I was surprised at her insensitivity to the origin, purpose and placement of the November 11 poppy.  She was wearing what looked like a ceramic poppy on her left shoulder. Without explanation, it appeared to be a piece of costume jewelry. It was, we found, to be a hand-made poppy made to recognize Canada’s indigenous peoples who also served and died for this country.

And that might be emblematic of what is wrong with this inquiry.

What these commissioners and the politicians who appointed them do not seem to understand is that the commission is headed in a direction that will solve nothing. It needs to be an opportunity for healing between our disparate societies. It is understanding and empathy that breed respect, not separation.

The basic problem with this inquiry today is that our indigenous people want to rely on an oral history that honours and recognizes the missing and murdered persons.

But for them to share this understanding with the rest of Canada, they have to recognize the communication needs of the non-indigenous. They have to allow cameras to record their oral presentations. It goes against all they believe but it is the reality. Truth will be known and real reconciliation will be possible as we all come together in understanding. And if that is not the purpose of this inquiry, tell us now and stop wasting our money.

In the interim report, I kept stumbling over the concept that the non-indigenous were in some manner trying to colonize these people who came so much earlier to this continent. We share this beautiful and bounteous land and we bring in more people every day to share with us. Nobody wants to deny the indigenous their lifestyles, their choices. Nor should we fail to offer them the opportunity of today’s technology or education or medicine or better living conditions.

Canada is a country enriched by the knowledge, the customs, the lore that people have brought here from many lands. We are richer for it. It is important that we all can share in it.


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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