National Indigenous Peoples Day

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, where Canadian politicians say how pleased they are that Canada doesn’t have systemic racism like the United States. (Spoiler alert: they’re wrong.)

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, where 61 First Nations communities still can’t get clean drinking water from their taps. The Neskantaga First Nation has had a boil-water advisory for 25 years so far.

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, where an indigenous person is more than 10 times more likely to be killed by police than a white person.

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, where the rate of homicides for indigenous women/girls is seven times higher than for other females. Many other indigenous women just disappear. Often, the police don’t bother to look for them.

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, where from the 19th century until the 1980s, more than 150,000 children were stolen from their families and placed in residential schools to “to kill the Indian in the child.” Many were abused. Some died.

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, where in the 1950s to 1980s, 20,000 indigenous children were take from their families and adopted out to white families. This is generational trauma that will be passed down through families.

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, where everyone gets free (single-payer) health care, but First Nations children often don’t get the care they need because the provincial and federal governments argue about who is supposed to pay for it.

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, where indigenous people have to fight the government with protests and blockades to try to keep oil pipelines off their traditional and sacred land.

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, where we spend one day a year talking about indigenous people. It’s not enough.

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. I became a Canadian citizen last year and I’m also a U.S. citizen. Both countries need to recognize and eradicate racism against their indigenous people. I need to do better and we all need to do better.

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