We are perhaps moving towards a concept of modernity that includes
- a version of truth that both settlers and indigenous peoples can agree on
- a version of reconciliation that recognizes indigenous rights to self-government as well as responsibilities to the surrounding communities, and, since they are not leaving, recognition of settlers’ rights and responsibilities after few or many generations of settlement
- a thoughtful look at the exploitation, dehumanization, imperialism and colonization that has gone on since the beginning of recorded history, and with an understanding of the greed, ignorance, fear, and genetic tendencies underlying economic and cultural causes for this behaviour.
Then, when I look around, I despair that we are moving away from that concept of modernity.
My schooling taught me to look at native people through the colonizer's lens. I am trying to look through many different lenses now.
I went through public schooling in Canada in the mid-2000's, and I learned next-to-nothing about these topics. It was a standard education in Canadian/North American history but the extent to which negative aspects of colonization were brought forward were very minimal. Christopher Columbus sailing the ocean blue type shit. Basically the Europeans came over to strike an awesome trade deal and indigenous (called natives at the time) people just kind of hung out, helped the Canadians, occasionally got the short end of the stick, and now everyone is happy in our technologically advanced civilization. Residential schools weren't taught in my public school, and the brief discussion on it in high school provided very little context on how bad things remain to this day, or y'know, the fact the last one closed in 1996.
It's really embarrassing but all I can do at this point is listen. The suicide rate on reserves is absolutely staggering and a national emergency. Things need to change a lot quicker than they are right now, and while establishing a new legal framework is a great step forward I don't think the political willpower exists to make moves fast enough. A LOT of Canadians are quite racist, and still see indigenous people as lazy or worse.