We can hustle for dollars. Or we can hustle for change. I’m not out here trying to make a million dollars. We often think of success as something financial, but I’m less interested in titles, and more interested in trying to advance solutions to the problems that we see in indigenous communities. I think that there are some things that I could do better, and I strive to do more, but I trust in the process.
I think that it is important for us to consider everything that we’re up against. We talk about systemic racism, and what that means. Racism in this city often comes from the people that we rely on for services of need. I would never use a sweeping generalization on any of the occupations and careers that people do for a living, but we need to consider the context: Cops, courts, corrections, medical care staff, paramedics, income assistance, and teachers. Often these occupations have to deal with many of our people who are at a point in their lives that we would generally consider “rock bottom”. If a paramedic only ever sees indigenous people as the drunks on Main Street, they go home with all of these negative stereotypes about who we are as a collective. This also plays out in our schools, the poverty and unequal access to opportunities leads teachers to believe that we are not good enough.
Racism and reconciliation are trendy words of the day. Why does there have to be a negative stigma attached to them? What we are really attempting to do is expose some of the many injustices that our people have faced since the beginning of Canada’s history. The word reconciliation needs to go hand in hand with “truth”. We are merely telling our truths. The telling of our truths is going to require education, and is going to require us to tell it in a way that is going to make people feel uncomfortable at times, but we need to continue to be vocal.
The problems that we see within our communities are going to require solutions. Solutions that we cant waste time thinking about. We can’t afford to waste time fighting with each other either. Think about what we are up against, as a collective. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps up and get to work.