I was in the middle of a retail shift and there was a steady stream of people walking through the store door. A woman, who I will call Jane, entered and headed towards the back of the store where I stood.
Jane was gentle and funny and she was searching for mascara. Our conversation took the natural path from mascara fibres to protesting large corporations. She told the story of her friends purchasing a share in a corporation. This corporation was providing an essential part of an explosive being used in Vietnam. Together the friends attended shareholder meetings and reminded everyone, the corporation’s actions were not without consequence.
In the end, Jane decided against the mascara but she offered me a handshake and introduced herself.
“Jane from the third block of the Haldimand Treaty.”
I had never heard someone introduced that way.
Jane told me it reminded her, and everyone she speaks with; we live on land that does not belong to us.
I’m not sure of Jane’s actual name. I cannot remember. What I do remember is the way she brought the truth about Canada to a conversation held in the middle of a shopping mall.
I understand many people find this annoying. They say there is a time and place to discuss issues such as genocide and colonialism. Why would you ruin a shopping day with serious matters?
If you pay attention, you may realize people who preach the appropriate time and place method of tackling important issues generally believe there is never an appropriate time or place to discuss serious issues.
The majority of the population living in the country known as Canada live as settlers. Our comfort in life comes at the expense of the Indigenous people of this land.
Acknowledging this is a baby step. Acknowledgement does not change anything but acknowledgement is needed before anything else can happen.
Below is a link to an interactive map.
If you live in Australia, North America, or South America, you can enter your address and the results will tell you the nations that first inhabited the land you live on, the languages those nations speak, and the treaties that were created for the land.
Use the map to learn, and then pass it on as my sister passed it to me.
The first step to change is to acknowledge every part of Canada was built on stolen land, and continues to function on stolen land.
Canadians, our home is native land.