This reflection was written by Rev. Paul Carline, Director of Intercultural Ministries
Happy Birthday, Canadians!
A birthday is a unique celebration. How odd it is that we celebrate our existence but no one can say to us, “well done.” Perhaps it’s the people around us who ought to be told that. Others carried, cared, supported, sacrificed, and made room for us. Yes, our existence is celebrated, but the credit, honour and thanks must go to others (to parents, grandparents, guardians).
The same is true for Canada Day. Canada and Canadians can really take no credit for their existence. July 1st is not July 4th: while our southern neighbours celebrate conquest and independence, we should celebrate welcome and dependence. We did not win this land. We do not deserve it. We are here only because of the indigenous people of northern Turtle Island and because of the land they adopted us into.
How can we celebrate Canada Day while walking in a good way with our indigenous neighbours?
This Canada Day, take a handful of earth, a lungful of air, a mouthful of water, an earful of birdsong. Scan the horizon, focus on a tree or flower. Smell it. Then, lift up your head and say “thank you” to God. Consider the price indigenous people and the land paid and are paying. Consider our disregard and neglect. Bow your head and say “sorry”.
Determine this year to do a better job caring for the land. Visit, call, or email even your nearest indigenous band and thank them for their welcome, peace and friendship treaties, patience and hope. Start, continue, or finish CBAC’s free online “Walking In A Good Way With Our Indigenous Neighbours” course. http://courses.baptist-atlantic.ca
Happy Birthday, Canada.