Yesterday was July 1st, Canada Day and for the first time in my own lifetime, I didn't celebrate the way I normally would have. Yes, things have been impacted by COVID these last sixteen or so months, but that wasn't why. With the findings of the graves believed to belong to the aboriginal children of residential schools, we as Canadians are as polarized as we have ever been. To me, and not to oversimplify by any means, it comes down to how Canadians treat Canadians, and from there the global population.
Every country has parts of history they are not proud of, and part of moving forward is to learn about these things so that we don't repeat them. We don't want to erase these reminders OR glorify them, we need to remember both the rights and the mistakes of our pasts in order to make better choices in our collective future. What comes to my mind is keeping Auschwitz Concentration Camp open to locals and to tourists. Not because it is something to celebrate, but to remember how easy it was for people to be turned against each other, and to have some of the biggest historical depravities happen in the name of some twisted view of social justice. People travel there by the thousands each year to remember and in remembering have a greater awareness of how easy it was to turn neighbor against neighbor.
That said, as people grow they evolve. Hopefully for the better. Hopefully, the morals of today aren't the same morals that led to the creation of residential schools and hopefully today we identify more as one people of many colors who can SEE one another. See the differences to be celebrated, the wounds not yet healed, and the difference in perspective that help us all to grow....but only if both sides are willing to listen. Hopefully.
This year, as I celebrate a country that I am proud to call my own, I do so knowing that the people under this flag are not now nor have ever been perfect people. Wonderful innovation and horrible actions alike have been carried out under the flag of our nation. What I believe is that knowledge of our own history as Canadians are there to set our own moral compasses by. Do we continue to set it by the ethics of the past or do we continue to evolve? Do we identify by the color of our skin, or as people? I know that for me, moving forward, I want to evolve. I am not a perfect person either, I am simply Canadian.