Today is a difficult and confusing day for me. My whole life I have celebrated Canada Day as the day my country was founded. As a social studies major in my Bachelor of Education Degree, I learned more about the people who were here before European contact. It was new to me. We had lived our lives in the firm believe that this was our country, that we, the Europeans, had conquered those who came before us and that we were civilizing this great land.

Today, as more unmarked graves are found near old Residential Schools, I am sobered by the fact that the conquering continued, that people, children, were murdered so that we could ‘civilize’ this country. Today Canada seems tarnished for me and that makes me very sad. I want to be proud, but only a generation ago, Indigenous children were taken from their homes and given to Eurpoean families to raise. Children were taken away and raised in residential schools or day schools far from their families, culture and way of life and it is estimated that more than 4000 of them never came home. I am trying to imagine how frieghtened and confused they must have been and what horros they could have endured. I can’t even begin to do that. It hurts me deeply.

There is an image of Indigenous children that began to circulate after the mass grave of 251 children was located in British Columbia last month. It depicts small children holding hands and the caption reads.. “It’s going to be okay now. They have found us.” It makes me cry everytime I think about it.

I have always been a proud Canadian. I have even run for Parliament … twice. How do I reconcile my long-held version of Canada with this image of children being mistreated and murdered? I am depending on this government to do the right things, what ever they are, to help heal this gaping wound for our Indigenous people and for all Canadians. These children were our children. Our European ancestors married Indigenous people. We could all be mixed blood, Metis people and we should be proud of those stories from our family that point to that possibility and we should grieve together … all of us … for our loss.

For many of us this is truly NEWS. We have lost our innocence and must accept that the Canada we know and love still has untold mysteries for us to discover, many we will not be proud of. We can do better and we will. We MUST.