The Queen of England dying really caused me to pause and reflect. As a woman with British ancestry, I was strongly impacted by my loving Grandmother’s reverence for the Queen. We were a family that never missed hearing her recollection of the Queen’s Christmas address. We all were raised to see the Queen as a powerful female role model and someone whose class and calm under pressure were to be respected. So, when she passed, there was a part of me that grieved and I felt weird about it. I felt uncomfortable because I felt my familial love and connection to a colonial structure that I know caused and continues to cause incredible pain for so many, including my Indigenous friends. How could I, someone who wants to change the world for the better, have these conflicting feelings?
The timing of her death, mere weeks before Truth and Reconciliation Day, was even more jarring because of the way it was all politicised in Ontario schools. I was left talking with friends about how can Truth and Reconciliation happen in this country when we are mandated by our government to honour an institution that has caused so much pain? It also left me wondering how come we couldn’t just engage in honest conversation about how messy and painful examining our own truths are reconciling those can be. It left me thinking that as a society maybe this isn’t just the death of a person but maybe of a way of thinking about the world. It also left me questioning how a family like mine, of British ancestry, can work to reconcile with Indigenous friends.
I imagine this is how people of German ancestry feel when looking back on the atrocities of the Holocaust. It is also from Germany that I take some inspiration. It is my understanding that as of 2020, Germany was the country that took in the most Syrian refugees. It has become a country devoted to being a safe haven. I am hopeful that Canada can work towards changing our identity in a similar way. It is my hope that we can do that through hard personal reflection, like what I experienced after the Queen’s death. It is also my hope that we can keep focused on actions by reaching out to our Indigenous friends to amplify their voices, learning from them and by using our privilege to provide funding for opportunities for cultural resurgence; like the $1500 donated to the Woodland Cultural Centre through Keith Gattie’s Orange Shirt efforts.
It was my pleasure to attend the Chippewas of Georgina Island Pow Wow a couple of weeks ago where Revolution Now artist, Keith Gattie, was proudly selling his art and shirts. The Pow Wow was beyond amazing and it was incredible to see young Indigenous people dancing in jingle dresses, learning to drum and proudly sharing their culture after generations of it trying to be forcibly extinguished. The resilience, strength, joy and graciousness displayed by our nearest treaty partners was something to be honoured and celebrated. It was in the beating of those drums and not in the procession of a Royal funeral that I heard the future of what our Nation to Nation understanding and relationships could be.
And it is that vision of what could be that continues to drive Revolution Now as we move into our second year together. This movement born of transgender, Black, Muslim, South Asian, gay and Indigenous collaborators is one that is about learning from each other’s experiences and genuinely being there for each other to hear and support youth in our community. We are SO thankful for every single person that has bought a shirt, attended an event, shared our posts and made noise to keep the Revolution going. The Revolution is now! This is our time!!!!
Let’s Go Change The World,