Why there cannot be true reconciliation

News Unsettled Opinions
News Unsettled Native Students Union column
Graphic provided by the Native Students Union.

There will never be true reconciliation. The Canadian government has shown time and time again that it does not care about Indigenous people and that it only aims to maintain and expand its powers over these lands.

It does not matter which political party one looks to in this country, they are all the same. Even those considered on the political left, like the New Democratic Party, constantly fail Indigenous people. While Jagmeet Singh was on the national stage, arguing for clean drinking water and reconciliation, John Horgan’s government in B.C. was removing Indigenous people from their territory at gunpoint, and still is.

In 2019, the B.C. government passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. That didn’t matter. Almost immediately after, the Wet’suwet’en people were forced from their territory. That fight has not ended. The Wet’suwet’en are still facing arrests and still facing down the RCMP’s guns while they take part in ceremony and resurgence on the land.

What does Canada, the champion of reconciliation, do while all of this occurs? Nothing. They twist their reasoning behind complicated laws that have only existed for less than a sliver of time compared to how long Indigenous peoples have lived on Turtle Island.

Colonialism is not over. The same violent means that the earliest whites used on this continent are still being used today. The RCMP were  given permission to use lethal force on Indigenous land defenders if they felt at all threatened. Threatened by what? Our songs? Our ceremonies? Eagle feathers being lifted to the sky in prayer?  

Canada is afraid of us. Because of our connection to the land and the power we hold. Our existence is proof that the Canadian state is unjust, illegal, and evil. Why would they let us keep existing?

Trudeau, Jagmeet, O’Toole, Bernier, Blanchet, none of them care about us. They act like they do for political gain. They call other parties out on their archaic policy and actions, but at the same time ignore what is going on with their own people, the crimes they are committing.

Trudeau could not even care enough to meet with Indigenous leaders on his brand-new Truth and Reconciliation Day, instead opting to fly with his family to Tofino. While elders and community in Kamloops and beyond took part in ceremony and mourned our children that never made it home, Trudeau donned a baseball cap, tied his sweater around his waist, and dipped his toes in stolen waters ⸺ as if he is the one that needs a break.

We can’t have reconciliation while the government is actively committing violations of international laws.

Indigenous people have already all but given up on the truth aspect of truth and reconciliation. The Canadian government destroyed 15 tons of documents relating to the residential school system. This was done before the age of ‘truth and reconciliation’ but the systems have remained the same. The things that the government represents have stayed the same.

The Canadian government is messing up on the reconciliation aspect just as bad. There is no recognition that the same tactics and crimes being committed today are just as bad as colonizers of the past. By continuing to ignore this key aspect, the Canadian government is demonstrating to Indigenous people that they do not care about Indigenous people, they do not care about truth, and they surely do not care about reconciliation.