June 21

Yes, I know June has passed, (It’s July, already?!), but it passed before I knew what I wanted to say. June 21 was National Indigenous People’s Day here in these lands we call Canada.

For those that don’t know the Indigenous history of Canada, it may or may not come as a surprise that before “Canada” was “discovered” in the late 1600s, it was actually inhabited for generations of people —the Indigenous people.

This year I became a Permanent Resident of Canada. I feel immeasurably lucky for this because I love this place. 

However, it is not my land.

The fact that the lands now known as Canada had been cared for by the Indigenous people was a fact colonial governments chose to ignore, and the Constitution Act of 1867 gave settlers control over Indigenous lives, lands, and resources. And so began the exploitation of the magnificent lands of the Indigenous nations.

The Indigenous people have been rightfully resistant to this imposed system of economic and political order, and as an expat with a card that gives me the right to live here despite no claim to this land, I am a part of that system.

There are times that I feel guilty for being here and for calling these lands my home. But guilt serves a purpose—it shows us where we went wrong. The only responsible way forward is to face it; to acknowledge our shared, sad history, and act with intention to make amends. 

I know there are still lessons to be learned, and I’m grateful and humbled to learn them here, in a place with so much power, knowing that power comes from thousands of years of dedicated stewardship.

It’s a short post from me today because the most important thing is that I want to acknowledge that I live on the traditional and unceded lands of the Syilx People of the Okanagan Nation. Today and every day, I raise my hands to the bravery and resilience of the Indigenous People.

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