Vivien Tarkirk-Smith 
Member since Jun 25, 2015



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Re: “Why I choose not to celebrate Canada Day

I think the key is education. I once got into a conversation with a well dressed American businessman who said he thought all aboriginal people had been wiped out by the whites. Although I am British and have the accent to prove it, this bozo had me delivering him a history lesson for the rest of the train journey we were on. Moreover this was in 1973, so Wounded Knee took up a great deal of the lesson. I cannot believe how ignorant Americans and Canadians are about First Nations people. Perhaps if school children were told about the dreadful ways First Nations people were treated until quite recently in residential schools they would grow up with a bit more compassion. They also need to be taught how despicably the governments have treated them, broken treaties and broken promises. They should be shown maps indicating how tiny the lands they now have are and how much was stolen from them. Let the children see that whatever money they get is meagre when compared with what was taken from them. It would go a long way in explaining the rates of suicide, alcoholism, broken homes, diabetes and other problems that currently, the white majority doesn't understand. I have invited First Nations friends to dinner on Thanksgiving because as a white immigrant, I feel a great debt of gratitude to the original (and proper) owners of this land for the privilege of living here, particularly as I came from an affluent country and was not in any way a refugee. In the forty years I have been here I have tried to show my appreciation in concrete ways to those who needed my help. I highly value the unique cultures of my hosts, to be found nowhere else in the world, and although I will always have a great deal to learn I find this to be the most interesting and rare of the world's cultures. First Nations are the jewel in Canada's crown and must be preserved, funded, nurtured and celebrated.

39 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by Vivien Tarkirk-Smith on 06/25/2015 at 9:46 PM

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