Thohahente yontiats. Kanyen’kehá:ka ní:’i nok wakenáthen. Tsi Kenhteke nitiwaké:non.
I was in the Cobourg Branch of CIBC on May 17 to cash my tax refund when I noticed a flyer promoting some coin to celebrate this Canada 150 celebration.
I was shocked. The caption read “Celebrate 150 years of our home and native land”.
As an indigenous person I was shocked, upset, then angry. CIBC would not exist but for the largesse of indigenous people who willingly shared access to land of resources. Today more than 60 per cent of Canada’s land exists on unceded indigenous land.
It is not “your land”. Canada took control of this land using acts of genocide. There was nothing cultural about it. It was full out genocide. All five of the measures in the UN Convention on Genocide (1948) were contravened. They are still being contravened today.
Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, defines genocide as … any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
1 – Killing members of the group;
2 – Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
3 – Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
4 – Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
5 – Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
To make us invisible and not acknowledge our gift to you of accommodation on this land is racist by definition. To call it your native land is just a lie. It is not.
I had hoped the bank I have dealt with for 35 years would do better in these days of reconciliation.
I could close my accounts and turn in my cards. That would hurt me more than you and you would not even notice. Rather, just do the right thing, apologize to indigenous people within Canada. Get rid of the Canada 150 propaganda. Get all your senior management teams to read the TRC Report and the 94 Calls to Action. Formulate action plans to implement the Calls to Action pertinent to the bank. Provide cultural sensitivity training at all levels of the bank.
Ó:nen ki wáhi.
Thohahente Kim Weaver