Americans gripped by immigration and ethnicity issues should glance for perspective at the large print on the base of the Statue of Liberty: Give me your tired, your poor ... Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me ... Canadians with similar anxieties about immigrants and refugees -- categories that were often historically identical -- should think about Samuel de Champlain, who founded our country in the early 1600s.
"When I came into the North West in July, the first of July 1884, I found the Indians suffering. I found the half-breeds [Métis] eating the rotten pork of the Hudson Bay Company and getting sick and weak every day. Although a half breed, and having no pretension to help the whites, I also paid attention to them. I saw they were deprived of responsible government, I saw that they were deprived of their public liberties..." - From Louis Riel's final statement to his staged trial in Regina, July 31, 1885.
Between June 21 and July 1 -- National Aboriginal Day to Canada Day -- we'll be featuring a series of articles examining and critiquing the uses of Canadian identity, the resurgence of Indigenous movements for justice, and the ways in which activists and thinkers across these lands are addressing these fundamental questions.
Related rabble.ca story:
Monday, February 18 is Louis Riel Day in Manitoba. Today, rabble.ca published an editorial making the case for a national holiday in honour of Louis Riel. June Scudeler argues that an Indigenous Unity Day is more suitable. What do you think?
In a move clearly designed to appeal to “family” voters by B.C.’s Liberal government, B.C. celebrated its first Family Day on February 11.
While people optimistically frame the day as one of celebrating created or non-biological families, the fact that Family Day is modelled after a similar day in Alberta shows its conservative roots. Just look at B.C.'s innocuous campaign with its adult cartoon bear with two cubs as an illustration of the holiday’s ideological premise.
So how can we recalibrate the holiday? rabble.ca has suggested that February 18 be designated Louis Riel Day, a national holiday.