Celebrating Canada Day

My parents, like many Tamil immigrants, fled from the civil war in Sri-Lanka in hopes of rebuilding their lives in another country. Canada’s generosity allowed our family to live, thrive, and contribute to society without the fear and hardships that come with war. I feel truly blessed to be living in a land that is not only free but also accepting of all the different races and cultures that are lucky enough to call this country “home.” I’m grateful to be raising my four kids in a country which prides itself on defending the rights and freedoms of individuals, celebrating diversity, and promoting equal access to healthcare for all. For the above reasons, I am grateful and as an immigrant, I personally feel it necessary to celebrate the country that gave us these privileges.

That being said, celebrating Canada Day also means acknowledging Canada’s violent past, the Indigenous genocide, and the oppression faced by the Indigenous peoples even today. I would like to see the country that we fondly call home, take responsibility for the violence against the Indigenous, respect their rights and way of life, abide by the treaties put in place to protect them, give them veto power over their lands, eradicate poverty amongst the First Nations, resolve the water crisis, and more. Until then, I will remain responsible for educating my children on the true history of this land, not the romanticized version taught in schools. I don’t want the history of the Indigenous Peoples to be erased much like the history of my Tamil people. To begin, I encourage all of you to learn the name of the First Peoples, whose land you currently reside on and the original name of that land. When we know better, we must aim to do better.

May we continue to grow as a country which not only respects and celebrates the heritage of its people but also acknowledges its mistakes and strives for better so that we all have something to celebrate.

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