While the U.S. ponders how best to celebrate Columbus Day, its northern neighbor takes substantive steps toward truly recognizing Native Americans
Photo by Darryl Dyck / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Recently, there’s been a lot of ink spilled on the progressive decision by cities like Seattle, Minneapolis, and Berkeley, California, to replace today’s national Columbus Day celebration with an Indigenous Peoples’ Day commemoration. It’s a swap worth appreciating, not only because it corrects the historical myth of and misplaced reverence for a batshit crazy explorer (not discoverer), but also because it ends essentially the disturbing celebration of the long, grueling genocide of America’s native population. Such official disillusion with the heroic myths of European colonization is a good first step toward engaging with the country’s troubling relationship with indigenous people. But it’s just a drop in the bucket, especially when compared with the sea change in Native American affairs sweeping across our northern neighbor. Through a series of unprecedented gains in sovereignty over ancestral lands in the frozen north, indigenous activists may fundamentally reshape Canada this year.