The Chair of the Ktunaxa Nation Council says we still have some work to do before Indigenous Canadians have a reason to celebrate these milestones.
Kathryn Teneese is speaking as our country gets ready to mark its 150th birthday this weekend.
She suggests it’s a chance to accept there’s been mistakes made along the way with the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians.
The Nation Head says there is an opportunity to move forward on a positive note but first Canadians must take a look in the mirror.
Teneese recognizes the importance of celebrating Canada 150 but also wants it to be a time to raise our national consciousness so we can work toward changing our country’s narrative as who we really are as Canadians.
She hopes the celebration that marks the next 150 years will be reflective of a Canada that is more inclusive and deals with some of the outstanding issues that are plaguing indigenous communities.
Two years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its report, Teneese says the short term goals moving forward should be individualistic in nature.
She explains we, as individuals, need to inform ourselves.
Teneese encourages Canadians to look at the recommendations made by the TRC and see if there’s something that resonates with them that may push them to set personal goals.
She says if you look at it as 94 calls to action it can be overwhelming, however if you find one that makes sense to you, that’s a good start for change.
Teneese believe all people in Canada have an opportunity to inform themselves so we can begin making this country a place everyone is proud to call home.
Teneese says she is optimistic as we continue the process of reconciliation but more can always be done.
Former St. Mary’s Indian Band Chief Sophie Pierre pointed to the recent unveiling of Chief Isadore Trail, that connects Cranbrook to Wardner, as a great example of reconciliation.
However, Pierre made sure to point out that reconciliation is a relationship not an event.
Pierre, who became a member of the Order of Canada earlier this year for her dedication toward advocating for First Nations, was named the parade marshal for the annual Sam Steele Days celebration this month that incorporated a “Canada 150” theme to the weekend.
At the time, Pierre admitted as an indigenous person it is difficult to see all the hype behind this year’s milestone.
She questioned when we were going to celebrate the fact this country has a history of 10,000 years, not 150.
– Ktunaxa Nation Chair Kathryn Teneese
– Former St. Mary’s Indian Band Chief Sophie Pierre