I live, work and play in Treaty 3 territory, on land once fully stewarded and inhabited by the Anishinaabe Nation. Treaty 3 spans a territory of 142,450 sq km reaching from west of Thunder Bay, Ontario to north of Sioux Lookout, along the international border and into the province of Manitoba. It is made up of 28 First Nation communities, with a total population of approximately 25,000 overseen by their Grand Council. My closest Anishinaabe neighbours live in Shoal Lake 40 and Iskatewizaagegan 39 Independent First Nations.
As a white settler who was raised in a colonial society widely known as Canada, I deeply regret my country’s history. On behalf of my ancestors, I wish to apologize to the Indigenous Peoples of this continent for the racism that has infused all of Western European thought and action. I am sorry that we did not (and still do not) see you more clearly, that our vision has been fogged by our closed-mindedness. I am sorry for the Indian Act and how it sought to undermine the treaties, to control you, and to diminish or even eliminate you. I am mortified by the residential school system that has caused immeasurable harm to the souls of individuals and communities. I am not proud, but I hope for change for the better.
I humbly admit to having much to learn about my privilege and about how racism permeates all aspects not just of my environment but also of my own thinking. I am committed to overcoming my unconscious biases, to learning about worldviews beyond the one I have always assumed to be true, and to growing into a person infused by the values of equity and justice. I wish to work alongside my Anishinaabe neighbours to find a path of truth and reconciliation, by seeking to be a true listener, learner, advocate, and ally.
July 1, 2021: My family transformed Canada Day from a day of celebration to a day of mourning for the lost children who continue to be uncovered in mass graves across the country. National pride has its place, but this is not it. We can do better.