Change is a difficult thing. Some people tend to run towards it, embracing each opportunity, while others shy away and avoid it as much as possible.
This past year has been full of changes, good and bad, permanent and temporary. Some days I find myself hoping and wishing for changes, like lower ICU admissions and hospitalizations and higher vaccination rates.
One thing that cannot change is history. Canada’s history is dark in many ways, and nothing can hide or change that fact. What we do have the power to change is the present, and the future.
We are uncovering mass graves of children who died because of residential schools. These are children who were taken from their families, their homes; children who were told that they must throw away their culture and their heritage and must adopt new practices instead. This was, and is, wrong. Culture and heritage can’t be buried; it will regrow.
By encouraging children to leave behind the ways of their family and community, we have massively interfered in the ability of culture to pass from one generation to the next. This cyclical pattern will continue impacting generation after generation; this is why we cannot forget the past.
While I am proud to be the Opposition critic for sport, culture, and heritage, I am disappointed that our government has not done more to address the cultural suppression that Indigenous people in Canada continue to experience.
We need real effort and action towards reconciliation, including commitments from every level of government across the country to search the sites of all former residential schools so that we can know the truth. So far, the PC government has refused to commit to the most basic act of reconciliation here in Manitoba.
We have the ability to learn about one another and grow closer by discovering each other’s heritage. The differences between cultures and between people are so beautiful, and so important. These differences are what make each person unique, and what encourages us to continue learning, growing, and experiencing new things.
It is time that we learn to appreciate one another. We must understand that while we do not wish to repeat the past, that is exactly why we must remember it. We must remember the children and families who were, and are, impacted by residential schools. These impacts have not been left in the past; they are very present and real to this day.
My office team and I are here to support constituents in every way that we can. Please reach out by email, email@example.com, or by phone, 204-415-7621.
Burrows constituency report
Diljeet Brar is the NDP MLA for Burrows.