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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

CHAD NORMAN DAY -- I pray more indigenous people focus on contributing positively to rebuilding and strengthening their ancestral communities and nations out of love and respect for those that came before us

USED WITH PERMISSION of the author, Chad Norman Day

"Don't give up what you want most, for what you want right now.

Following several generations of colonization, injustice, racism, and exploitation of our children, lands and resources, many indigenous individuals in Canada and their advocates are currently more concerned with "getting even" rather than empowering their people through reconciliation.

It’s unfortunate, but it’s also understandable.

Most indigenous people, rooted in their homelands, want to see their communities and nations become prosperous and independent, but this may take decades or generations for those nations with communities and/or leaders who are overwhelmed with anger, frustration and pain. This is why I’ve always said that reconciliation starts with ourselves first. 

We need to heal and become healthy individuals before we can reconcile and unite our communities or nations in a fashion that will allow us to prosper through beneficial partnerships with others, such as outside governments, neighbouring indigenous nations or industry.

Protests have always played an important role in society to create necessary change, and they will continue to play an important role in the future. But if the changes being sought from such protests are already taking place, and you’re pushing on an open door, or the root issues of the protest are based on misguided anger and/or misinformation, then all these actions create is unnecessary drama and setbacks to our shared society and collective future. So, before someone chooses to protest or support such efforts, they should do the research and ask themselves if their resources, time and energy could be better spent contributing to other empowering solutions.

I pray that more indigenous people, particularly our youth, focus on contributing positively to rebuilding and strengthening their ancestral communities and nations out of love and respect for those that came before us -- rather than lashing out and negatively impacting so many lives, including their own, for the sake of "getting even" with colonial governments or others.

I hope everyone begins to understand that the key to indigenous people overcoming so many of the challenges and trauma we face today is by getting back to a place where we are economically independent and capable of revitalizing our cultures, operating our own governance systems, and creating healthy and thriving communities as we see fit.

Reconciliation in this country is very challenging, particularly right now when so many people, including most indigenous people, are only just beginning to understand how complex, uncomfortable and time consuming this process will be.

It took Canada over 150 years to create this mess and we are not going to repair everything overnight.

Reconciliation at the personal level, community/nation level and external level will often take years -- or decades -- of hard work and commitment, and I honour all those dedicated people, from all ethnic backgrounds and sectors, contributing to these empowering goals alongside indigenous peoples.

You should take pride in your purposeful work and understand that many of us truly notice, appreciate, respect and love you for your ongoing commitment.

Chad Norman Day ... is the father of four Tahltan / Wet’suwet’en children, and President of the Tahltan Central government


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