as published in the TORONTO STAR on July 1, 2022
Wondering today, if anyone representing the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation was called upon to offer an opinion on what symbol should grace the centre of the nation’s flag a couple of generations ago. The flag after all, would sing its song from atop the Peace Tower, located on the unceded, never surrendered lands of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation. I can only imagine what astronomical outrage and protest would have erupted from a large number of Canadians if someone from a First Nations bloodline had played a crucial role in the new flag coming into being, back in 1960. Such were the times! Dare I say such “are” the times? Sadly, supremacist mentalities still have a strong pulse in this country. There were and indeed still are, hardliners who believe Canada would be a greater country if not for the presence of the First Nations People in it! It’s a fact that five years prior to the maple leaf being proclaimed Canada’s national flag by Queen Elizabeth II, the First Nations Peoples of the country were forbidden, by law, to vote in federal and provincial elections! 1965, it’s not all that long ago!
Oh the flag! Before its birth, there was horror! The atrocities committed against human beings in this country are embedded deep into its fabric. It is a fact Canadians need to be aware of and should, because of it, commit to all efforts of reconciliation as proposed to them by the people of Indigenous bloodlines. A country without a conscience, is a country without a soul!
The notion of killing “the Indian in the child”, was the collective dream of Canada’s first parliamentarians. Under the colony’s ‘Red Ensign’ the so-called ‘opposition’ did not oppose the first Prime Minister’s plans to perpetrate genocide against this country’s original inhabitants. The Indian Act, was created by the ‘Fathers of Confederation’ for one reason and for one reason only, and that was to get the First Peoples out of the way so that their resource-rich lands could be raped and plundered. It is outrageous for anyone to believe that it was Canada’s taxpayers who funded the railroad going from the nation’s east to its western edges. It was wealth! Such as that produced by the timber, the gold, the silver, the iron ore and so on, stolen from the Algonquins, the Mi’kmaq, the Ojibwe and other First Nations in the east which made the construction of the railway possible.
But after all is said and done on this topic I can honestly say from my most humble heart of heart’s viewpoint, that I see a lot of good in the Canadian flag. My kid brother Russell served in the ‘Canadian’ Armed Forces from the time he was 18 till his death, resulting from being struck by a car, driven by a drunk driver in this 25th year of life. Russ served 3 years in the army and then 3 years on the ‘Saskatchewan’, a Canadian battle ship. He loved Canada! He would have put his life on the line (as did so many other brave First Nations soldiers of past wars) for Canada, anytime, any place, of that there is no doubt.
When I look at the maple leaf on the Canadian flag, I see the heart of Terry Fox. Tell me, was there ever a finer young man than Terry Fox? Imagine a world where all people had Terry’s heart and with it the love and respect he had for all people, regardless of culture or skin colour! There are many citizens in this country who are exactly like Terry Fox. They are of varying skin colours. They are old and they are young! They are the simple living and they are the powerful! I know, because I have worked with many of them over the years. And that is why I too, care greatly about Canada. When such good people stand together in protecting the integrity of the ‘maple leaf’, they can count on me to be by their side.