Made in Manitoba book examines Canada 150 from an Indigenous perspective
A book released by two Winnipeg-based editors is aiming to educate and inform people about why not everyone is celebrating Canada's 150th anniversary.
Kiera Ladner, an associate professor in political studies at the University of Manitoba and Myra Tait, a U of M law student and a member of Berens River First Nation teamed up to put together a collection of work from more than 40 authors.
It’s called Surviving Canada: Indigenous Peoples Celebrate 150 Years of Betrayal.
The book examines 150 years since Confederation from an indigenous perspective.
“It’s filling in some gaps, I think, in knowledge of what Canada’s true history is and that it didn’t simply start in 1867,” said Tait. “We thought it would be appropriate to have an Indigenous response.”
“It’s a response that asks Canadians to think about why we’re celebrating, or, to think about from a perspective of what aboriginal people may not be celebrating.”
Niigaanwewidam Sinclair, a professor and head of the University of Manitoba’s Native Studies department, said it’s important to be aware Indigenous people may not feel particularly happy on July 1.
“We don’t feel particularly celebratory at this time because we continue to have more children in care than ever before, more murdered and missing Indigenous women, more of our young people in jails and that’s a not particular reason to celebrate,” said Sinclair. “That’s a reason to move forward and continue to do more work.”
Sinclair said there’s nothing wrong with celebrating Canada’s achievements, but it’s important to recognize indigenous people have been oppressed in Canada.
“This country’s done some really great things but also has done it on the backs of Indigenous people and so for me it’s about bringing that to a conversation about what does that really mean to be Canadian in 2017.”
Several movements have been started across the nation to raise awareness about why Indigenous people aren’t celebrating include the Resistance 150 movement and Unsettling Canada 150 – National Day of Action.
The Resistance 150 movement is calling for the removal of the Indian Act.
Myra Tait said that’s a subject Surviving Canada touches on.
“The relationship that Canada had with aboriginal people has been a troubled one,” said Tait. “That’s what we write about, is that the fundamental relationship with the state is flawed.”
“There is a lot wrong but not everything, so we can still celebrate but celebrate in a way that is informed.”