Letter to the editor: October 30

The new government has some real work to do, but so do we.  

The Liberals have made the incredible promise to renew the relationship between Canada and Indigenous Peoples. As Machiavelli insinuated, campaign promises are made to be broken, and repairing Canada’s history of cultural and socioeconomic discrimination against our Aboriginal population is a tall order.

But in the face of all the gleeful negativity on our new government’s ability to pull through on their promises, I’m going to be optimistic. I believe that the Liberal government is approaching Aboriginal reconciliation in the right way.

I respect the Liberal’s aboriginal policy for two reasons: recognizing the need for a framework of collaboration between federal government and Aboriginal leaders, and the focus on improving public awareness. The Liberals are proposing institutional changes, but their proposed Public Education program is making Aboriginal reconciliation our responsibility too. This way, fostering equality is not left in the hands of the government.

Ordering an immediate inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women is a crucial action in federal policy, which the Liberals understand. But when many Canadians experience uncertainty about the politically correct terminology to use, and outright ignorance about our shared past and present, Liberals are right to make public education part of their policy. Sweeping this dirty situation out from under the proverbial rug is a crucial first step in reconciliation.

This gives me hope, but we can’t wait for education to be handed to us. If we support the initiative of the Liberal government, individual involvement is required. Canada’s relationship with Aboriginal people is built on individual relationships just as much as it is federal policy.

Debrah Zemanek, ArtSci ’16

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