Canada and the residual effects of the residential school genocide still prevail and trigger many First Nation Indigenous today. Canada bandies about words like reconciliation with the First Nations because they want the global audience to think that they actually care about their “Indians”.
Canada does NOT care. Canada has never cared. The “Indians” have been posing a problem for centuries. The “Indians” are a deterrent – blocking global investment on stolen land for resource development. Canadians are tired of this. Canadians are tired of being reminded about stolen land, finding the bodies of children adjacent to old residential schools and anything that hampers their world ranked lifestyles of privilege and power.
Canada wants to close the chapter on what they have done to the original peoples of this land. The original peoples are the fifty plus distinct linguistic nations who make up some six hundred reserve lands.
To thwart further claims or to cap spending on the relationship between Non-First Nations and First Nations, Canada under Justin Trudeau has embarked on a farcical journey of reconciliation. The road to reconciliation is paved with the blood of our ancestors.
The road to reconciliation is one-sided and made in the “best interests” for Canada’s aboriginals.
The road to reconciliation is tarred with ill intentions, bad faith and legal fictions.
Justin Trudeau’s latest blunder in reconciliation has brought the pope to First Nation Indigenous lands. The pope did not visit “a reserve” for the first time, Canada is still First Nation Indigenous land. Canada does not have a bill of sale or adequate legal purchase documentation, that legitimately transfers “ownership” from Great Britain to Canada.
How did the pope arrive on First Nation land? Well, Trudeau had to send his trusty band of Indians across the big waters to beg the pope to come on over. Firstly, the band of Indians were duped into thinking they had received a full and heartfelt apology from the pope when they arrived at the Vatican in April, 2022. Excited Indians ran down the steps saying, “He apologized, he apologized”. In actuality, if they had actually listened; what the pope said was he’s sorry there were a few educators who maybe did some stuff. How is this an apology? Trudeau and his minion “Indians” quickly regrouped saying what they had intended to do was to invite the pope to come over here to “Canada” and apologize. If you didn’t pay close attention, it is possible to have missed the public relations save of those overeager “Indians” sent to complete a task.
Fast forward three months later and voila the pope is here. In preparation, Mascwacis/Hobbema residents were treated to newly paid roads, some quick infrastructure funds and the honour of hosting a spectacle.
The pope came.
As a man named Francis said “I’m sorry” and then he qualified it by saying “I’m sorry for the ways that all Christians supported colonization”. Once again, he said, he’s sorry, and for the ways the churches and religious communities participated in the cultural destruction and assimilation [promoted by the government] culminating in this thing called a residential school. The pope then goes on to say that basically by participating in the colonial mindset of the Canadian government, the catholic church was forced to bear the brunt of the errors made by the Canadian government in policies linked to the residential schools.
The pope continued saying the apology is not enough and that there will be an investigation and assistance for survivors. This code for cover up and conversion to catholic supremacy healing programs. The pope then says – this will take time but because he’s here and leaving behind his “flock” … aka the black robes, and that all be right in due time. The pope makes it seem like leaving the church is somehow a gift to the First Nations.
Once the pope finished saying a whole lot of nothing, the “Indians” took over again. Many First Nation (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada – INAC) leaders were tripping over their own headdresses and eagle staffs anxious to be seen, counted and part of what was being dubbed “a historic” gathering.
One of Trudeau’s most devoted Indians decided to gift the pope with a headdress.
Now it is customary for headdresses to be given to non-First Nations who hold a place of honour among our people, or for those people who have done great things for the Indigenous people. It is difficult to reconcile a man who represents the worst atrocities inflicted on First Nation children like the electric chair, or like the nutrition experiments, or like forced sterilization of young Indian girls with a normal recipient who would be given this honour.
Following this gifting, many “survivors” were triggered, and what followed was a full spectrum of emotions. Some First Nations were glad and moved by the pope’s words because they follow the Catholic faith, some were willing to take the apology “as is” but wavered on the gifting of a headdress. Some First Nations applied their colonized thinking to this item and said it was just a personal hat which the presenter had too many of, so it was okay just to give it away. Some First Nations were enraged. First Nations that were enraged understood that the apology was not heartfelt. The pope read a scripted response, doubtlessly crafted by Vatican legal counsel. But the outrage reached a tipping point on the gifting of a sacred item.
If the headdress was a personal item the man giving it could have quietly passed it to the pope. Instead, he chose to make it into an elaborate show. Then an unscripted woman rose in the crowds and began singing to the ‘Oh, Canada!’ tune. But what she said was this first she told the pope to take off that headdress. Then she sang that these are our lands and about the purity of the land. She then sang asking these men to go home and right the wrongs they had done.
One lone matriarch, with tears streaming down her face, in her language admonishing the pope was the true moment we should embrace. We are still here, we speak our languages, and we will not be silenced.