Posted by: rocketbride | July 2, 2017

sesquicentennial

Yesterday was Canada Day, and when I checked in briefly to Facebook there were a number of people celebrating, as well as a significant number of people writing about the flaws in our country. There’s a fear, I think, that we have in expressing happiness in something without a caveat, that we will be judged simple and worse, unfeeling of all the bad things that balance out the good. It’s part of being an adult, I suppose: looking at the shadow as well as the dazzle.

The best thing about the timing of Canada Day is that it comes hot on the heels of National Aboriginal Month in Canada. If you can get through the entire month of June without coming across an opportunity for education, or for appreciating the cultures of the First Peoples, well…it’s possible you’re not trying hard enough. I am uniquely privileged to be in education at a time when focus (and more importantly, money) is being devoted to integrating some degree of Indigenous perspective into the mainstream (i.e. settler) curriculum. There are manifold opportunities for me to learn more, and I’ve been deeply moved by many of these experiences. As a result, I think about First Nations much more than I used to, and all throughout the year. Canada Day brings all of this into focus.

I love history. Since most of my education was on Western European and colonial history, I still find myself loving that (although questioning it more closely than when i first learned the stories). As problematic as the history of Canada (a.k.a. the history of European settlement) is, I still cherish it. I look forward to learning more about the history that was passed over in the search for a simple narrative, in the search to justify civilization in a straight line from Athens to Rome to London to Toronto, but I will never fully abandon the patriarchal colonial narratives. I can’t; they shaped the current discourse.

I also love the current Canada, the big flawed timbit where I make my living and my home. I desperately want to see it improve, so that it embodies our best ideas about ourselves. I want clean drinking water and safe, spacious, well-designed houses, and innovative education and respect and hope flowing to and from the First Peoples. I want my seventh descendant to be proud of us for starting the hard work.

If you know me, then you know that I can be pathetically devoted. I am ride-or-die for Canada, despite its problems. Canada is like a beloved family member with some serious shit to work out. And my job is figure out where I can make the cracks wider, to provoke the breakdown that brings insight and inspiration. We need to run head-first into every uncomfortable conversation that stands in the way of right living. We need to get down in the shit and fix it.

Thank God we have something worth fighting for.

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