This week I listened to several Indigenous elders, knowledge keepers, activists, politicians, and youth with my colleagues and students. I was reminded of the historical truth Canada was built on the genocide of thousands of Indigenous children. I was reminded that the current reality is that Indigenous people are criminalized, brutalized, and murdered without justice. I was reminded that Indigenous families continue to suffer because their children are being taken from their homes through the CFS system.
I contemplated questions like…
What does truth and reconciliation mean and look like?
How do we move forward as a community together?
What are the next steps to decolonize the education system so that we truly live and breathe the mantra “every child matters?”
What is my role as a non-Indigenous settler, a Filipinx, born and raised and working in the North End community of Treaty 1 Territory?
What are my responsibilities as an educator and artist to continue to create and hold space for Indigenous knowledge keepers, elders, and youth?
How do I continue to hold the Canadian government and the religious institutions involved in the residential school systems accountable for the on-going genocide of Indigenous people and exploitation of the land and the people who live on it?
I began this week with an experience that reminded me that life is precious, especially the lives of our children. That we should NEVER have ancestors who are children. That as adults, we must ALWAYS protect our children, AT ALL COSTS. When we allow our children to be independent, to be leaders, to make decisions for themselves, to make mistakes, and learn from them - this is when they can step into their true power and confidence! The school system and those of us work in it, must allow for young people to explore who they are and what they want to be by connecting them with opportunities that are meaningful to them, instead of trying to fit them into a box and telling them what to do and when to do it. Children must have creative free will when it comes to their present and future! The next generation will do better than past generations. The question is, will adults listen, uplift, and support their voices when their ideas challenge dated belief systems and ideas around “social norms”?
I commit to continuing to listen and learn from Indigenous communities all over the world, because they are truly the only people who know how to live sustainably. They were here 1000 years ago and will continue to be 1000 years into the future.
To my non-Indigenous relatives... what do you commit to?