Cancelling Canada Day is not cancelling Canada itself. Cancelling Canada day means refusing to celebrate and light fireworks while Indigenous communities grieve the deaths of their children. It is about recognizing and acknowledging the systemic racism that is deeply rooted in our country. Cancelling Canada Day means using July 1st as a day of mourning to honour the innocent children lost and the survivors who are still here. It is also a day to get educated on the history of Indigenous people in Canada, to show our support, and reflect on what we can do.
The discovery of unmarked mass graves of Indigenous children reminds us that Canada was built on the erasure and genocide of Indigenous people. It is crucial to acknowledge that Indigenous people have a very different experience of Canada. Thus, it is insensitive to celebrate Canada Day when thousands of Indigenous children are being found across the country. The history that we celebrate on Canada Day is the same history that has brought so much mourning to Indigenous communities.
Indigenous communities still experience the intergenerational impacts of residential schools. Accessible mental health care to address this intergenerational trauma is a huge part of the systemic issues present in our society today. Grief continues through our Indigenous communities as they mourn and grieve their losses, as well as recall their own experiences of residential school.
Reconciliation requires collective recognition and commitment to action. It is critical to listen to and amplify Indigenous voices. We are choosing to stand in solidarity and as an ally with Indigenous people. So, this Canada Day, instead of wearing white and red, we invite you to wear orange in honor of all the residential school students, for the ones who survived and the ones who did not get to make it home.