To the editor:
Re: Hate me or not, this is my opinion (Capital News letter to the editor March 10)
Hate you or not? I’d prefer to educate you because I once shared your opinion. I’ve since learned that I was in denial. I’ve since learned the danger of pretending that I wasn’t.
Concerning your cold hard facts:
Europeans landed from the Arctic to the tip of South America: Correct – and we wouldn’t have survived more than a few days without the hospitality of our hosts. The same hospitality they continue to extend to newcomers.
Native Canadians are not going to get their land back: At least you acknowledge it’s theirs. And if I refer you to our own Constitution, it protects the rights and freedoms of indigenous peoples as guaranteed in the Royal Proclamation. They continue to fight for their liberation and the right to protect their lands for future generations (even your own Supreme Court is beginning to recognize this). In Canada today, Indigenous peoples are 4 percent of the population with 0.2 percent of the land. No math is required to realize that land restitution is necessary.
European descendants no longer feel guilty about what happened hundreds of years ago. It happened now and people live with it: Please do not speak on my behalf. I feel a responsibility to right the wrongs of past and ongoing colonization and I choose to stand in solidarity with my hosts. And the reality is that people are not living with it; they are resisting and dying from colonialism every day while the rest of us are too busy benefiting from it to look ourselves in the mirror and confront our privilege.
Learn from the past yes, but to sit around moaning about injustices hundreds of years in the past accomplishes nothing and keeps hatred going. Mexico and South America are not demanding retribution from Spain and Portugal: This would be a good point, if the injustices were hundreds of years old. Unfortunately, they continue to this day. The indigenous peoples of the Southern Americas are absolutely demanding justice from the colonial governments set up by Spain and Portugal. And they are being assassinated for their resistance to repression. Canadian mining companies are at the forefront of this repression. Perhaps you should write them a letter.
Perhaps the question is whether you want true independence for yourself. If so, I suggest liberating yourself from your own ignorance and standing in solidarity with the First Peoples of these lands. The international indigenous movement is only going to get stronger. God knows the world needs it. We are guests on Turtle Island. It’s time we started acting like it.
Karl Lee, Kelowna