Mixed Feelings

by donnalit,
As a non indigenous social studies teacher, I have spent the last several decades teaching and learning about Canada's history. Since the TRC I have become a lot more knowledgeable about all the issues, and I am glad for that. I consider myself an ally of indigenous people.

I have learned the negative consequences for indigenous people of many of Macdonald's policies, and of decisions he made. Even his famous National Policy, about which I have head many, many student essays, was a disaster for indigenous people. There is no way of sugar coating his efforts to get indigenous people onto reservations by withholding food. There is no way of explaining away his creation of residential schools. Justice Murray Sinclair's speech about reconciliation says it best. To paraphrase - generations of education led to the problem; it will take gnerations of education to get rid of it.

Then there is the other side. As someone else mentioned, without Macdonald's vision we would be a couple more big northern states in the USA. I am SO grateful that is not the case. I am a very proud Canadian and I still have JAM to thank for that. There is a term that describes the issue - presentism, the judging of history by today's standards. That brings up the point that Macdonald died in 1891. None of the succeeding PMs did anything to change any of those policies for many decades, even as times were changing; he is not the only one associated with ressidential schools and other prejudicial policies. The churches, as well as the government, made these schools hell for the indigenous people. There are a lot of people to share that blame.

As a proud Canadian, if the statue has to be moved, which I do not agree with, then put it in the Royal Saskatchewan Museum with a detailed display showing both sides of the issue. Do not put it in storage because it will be forgotten there. Leave it where it is until a place is built for it.

It concerns me that petitions can sway city council to this extent. Consultation with the public should have been done PRIOR to the vote.