All across the country, people are proclaiming that reconciliation is dead. As if this statement isn’t alarming enough, what makes it even more so is that this is largely our youth saying these words.
Our Indigenous youth don’t have faith in reconciliation, and that’s a problem for all of us. If they don’t believe in a future where Indigenous land rights and titles are respected, then how can we begin to plan in that direction? It says a lot about the state of our country to have a phrase like ‘reconciliation is dead’ popping up everywhere.
This sentiment deserves to be listened to. The most recent use of the phrase is associated with the raid on Unist’ot’en. The RCMP invaded Wet’suwet’en Territory and removed matriarchs during a ceremony for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women to make room for Coastal GasLink pipeline planning. Workers later removed ceremonial red dresses, placed in honour of the MMIW.
The Coastal GasLink pipeline can be relocated to different land. But to have it on Wet’suwet’en land is an act of environmental violence on traditional territory and it puts those families at risk of exposure to toxic pollutants.
Their rationale was that other routes would impact other urban communities and have more of an environmental impact with other routes. The Wet’suwet’en route is the quickest, most cost-effective way from their perspective.
These actions of violence and invasion have sparked something in the youth of the country. They are taking a stand, they are using their voices and they will be heard. According to Ry Moran, director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, the protests are themselves acts of reconciliation. These are the very steps that we need to take forward in building an Indigenous-Canadian relationship.
So that’s hopeful. I think it’s also a fair statement to say that reconciliation is dying right now and will continue to if we don’t take immediate action. These land invasions are not protecting Indigenous rights, and the youth can see that.
If you want to show your support, there is solidarity in keeping up to date with what is happening. There is solidarity in signing the petition to end the invasion. You can also go out and join a local protest.
We must stand together.
This op-ed was written by a University of Saskatchewan undergraduate student and reflects the views and opinions of the writer. If you would like to write a rebuttal, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Victoria Becker/ Photo Editor