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Kanata 150

Alexander Finbow - Saturday, July 01, 2017
This post was meant to highlight our book, The Loxleys and Confederation, written by Mark Zuehlke, Niigaanwewidam Sinclair and myself. Art by Claude St Aubin and Christopher Chuckry, lettered by Todd Klein. It is still the only comic book/graphic novel telling the story of how Canada actually became a country. I recommend it to anyone who wants to quickly learn more.

As Canada celebrates it’s official 150th birthday, there are many conversations taking place about what that means to the many different people who make up this country. With so many people here able to trace their family lineage back thousands of years, celebrating the formation of modern Canada is not necessarily something that will come easily. Broken treaties, unkept promises, the civilization project, cultural genocide, and residential schools, are just part of the legacy of Canada. 

The lack of knowledge about Canada’s origins through a deliberate policy of miss-education in Canadian schools, coupled with a continued reluctance from both provincial and federal governments to acknowledge and act to work towards accepting responsibility and actually improving the situation, is only now starting to change.

As I learned more about Canadian history, I got the distinct impression that the usual suspects of political and corporate control had tried to erase the indigenous population whilst simultaneously pretending to be working in their best interests. They failed, leaving a horrific trail of traumatized peoples over many generations. Add in the shameful treatment of immigrants from China, Italy, Ukraine, Japan, etc at key points in the growth of modern Canada, and you end up with a record of human rights abuses that quite rightly tarnishes Canada’s image as a multicultural melting pot.

There is a lot about Canada that works and should be truly celebrated. It is a country that has the potential to live up to its PR image globally. But we need to do more to address the divisions and fundamental injustices that are part of the very foundations of this country.

As we choose to celebrate or not today, please take the chance to engage with people in our communities, put aside the divisions that politicians, religious and corporate powers create to separate us, and listen to and help our fellow Turtle Islanders where we can.

I’ll close by quoting the words of writer and friend, Niigaanwewidam Sinclair:

‘Canada was never founded by two nations but hundreds, even thousands, with French and English communities bringing food to an already bustling and full feast. English and French communities are just two new members of a great village, where everyone was welcomed.

This is the story of Kanata. Not Canada, for that place is a fantasy.

We will do well to see Kanata for the riches it is rather then the Canada we think we see, for one is real and the other is an illusion. And, an illusion that is killing us.

The more flags and crosses we drive in the earth to divide ourselves, the more we buy into visions of profit instead of people, and the more we tell one-dimensional stories of one another the less we know about ourselves and our history.’

Quoted with permission from the University of Manitoba website: http://news.umanitoba.ca/kanata-150-not-canada-150/