20081012. Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, actually, as my husband refers to it, a celebration of the annihilation of aboriginal peoples to make room for the new country. The situation in Canada vis a vis aboriginal peoples is actually not quite as horrible as that sounds, and is no where as near genocide as that in the United States. However, the invading cultures of the English and French killed a lot of natives, sometimes through disease, sometimes through bloody-mindedness and sometimes in self-defence. Many of the voyageurs who explored the country married the local women and created a new race, as it were, the Metis. Over its 140 or so years, Canada has done horrible things to aboriginal peoples, mostly through ignorance and misguided religious convictions. Lately, various governments have attempted some small measure of recompense for the historical mistreatment of aboriginals (and other non-white Canadians), and I'm of two minds about this trend. On the one hand, a class of people was discriminated against on a societal level through ignorance and fear; on the other, most of the people who were actually mistreated are long dead and apologising to me for insulting my grandfather seems a little asinine. To me, it is more important to educate current generations about the mistakes of past generations so as to prevent a recurrence of those mistakes. Yes, Japanese-Canadians were forced from their homes on the West Coast inland to "protect" the country from who-knows-what. Yes, aboriginal peoples were killed and exploited and then marginalised in the exploration and development of the "new" country. I cannot change the facts of history, although for years there was a concerted attempt on the part of various governments to do just that, but I can learn to make better judgements and teach younger generations not to make the same mistakes.
That said, there are many things for which I am thankful in my life. To me, this is an annual opportunity for me to think about my life and to remember the people who have helped make it what it is and has been. To each of them, thank you. To the ones still alive, all best wishes for the coming year. I hope to talk to you soon.