National Indigenous Peoples (NIP) day is very conflicting for me. I feel like every minute of my life is Indigenous peoples day, my work is intertwined with my existence, my existence is my work.
So I wanted to try and unpack it and figure out what it means and here's what the Canadian National Government says about it:
"June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The Canadian Constitution recognizes these three groups as Aboriginal peoples, also known as Indigenous peoples."
I don't identify as Canadian, I come from the Syilx, Tsilhqot'in, Kutenai, Dakelh Nations which have existed here for tens of thousands of years before European settlers forcibly oppressed themselves on the Indigenous peoples of this continent.
So if this day is for “Canadians to celebrate” does this mean I don’t even get to participate?
Canada is not a real country, it is a construct created to steal our lands and continue to oppress and harm Indigenous peoples. Why do you think it’s so hard for Canadians to figure out their “identity”? You cannot identify something that does not authentically exist. Remember when Canadians constructed that creepy mosaic propaganda narrative during the 1990’s.
I also don’t need a day for the Canadian constitution to “recognize” my existence. In fact that statement is evidence that this day, as constituted by the feds, is another way to assert settler oppression and colonial supremacy upon Indigenous peoples.
I’m waiting for the day for the Canadian peoples to honour the treaties, to make treaties or agreements on unceded territories that aren't built on theft, I’m waiting for Canadians to actually ratify and uphold the United Nations of Rights of Indigenous Peoples and for Canadians to fulfil the 94 Calls to Action as delivered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and for Canadians to stop hurting me and my peoples.
I honestly think NIP has been established to assuage the guilt of Canadians and to compartmentalize their "celebrating" to one day a year instead of facing the truth of this racist colonial reality, like I have to do everyday. But hey that's just me.
Celebrating right now feels like celebrating a kid's birthday after they punched you in the face and handed you a goody-bag with candy covered dog shit and rolled you down the driveway in a garbage can.
We don’t need settlers to “celebrate” right now, we need you to take some of the work load and use your settler positionality to help dismantle colonial oppression to disseminate the power you wield within the white supremist systems you currently occupy.
So let me know when that starts to happen on mass Canadians because right now I'm more interested in the thread on my family Facebook group called Coconut Drive that is talking about how awesome velvetta cheese is.
p.s don't even get me started on what "canada day" feels like.