Updated: May 20
I am a white man. With that said, there are two things I would like to accomplish in this blog post: a) acknowledge my ignorance, and b) do my best to show respect to those who came before. Let me be clear, while it may be the way of the white man to colonize every land, culture and person they (we) come across, this is not right. There are a great many things in this world that are, and are wrong, and it is incumbent upon us to affect change.
I feel a personal responsibility for the ills white men have inflicted upon the earth and its denizens, regardless of whether or not I personally committed those sins. I have seen traumas inflicted upon people of other cultures, classes, and genders too often to not realize that my experience is one of privilege. And I have been, at the very least, insensitive to this reality. That is, I hope, the beginning of reconciliation.
Indigenous peoples have much to offer Canadians in general, and Albertans specifically. Shall we talk about coal mining in the Rockies? I cannot imagine any person remotely in tune with the natural world advocating for such a travesty. Not only has it been said that there would be minimal economic benefits, the destruction of natural habitats and wildlife would be substantial and probably irreversible. Only white men would call this a good idea.
What about the rich heritage of music, dance, and art in indigenous cultures? Surely most would agree that these are things worthy of consumption and promotion! I follow @CanadaPaintings on Twitter and am often surprised at the Indigenous voices in paintings I see on that account. Not only am I astonished at how relatable these voices are, but I am also awed by the quantity of art out there, only now getting its due.
These are only two observations of what could be gained with more respect for our Indigenous friends and neighbors. They were here before us, and if we continue on our current path, they will probably be here long after.