President's Message: A Time to Reflect, Acknowledge and Rest
June 29, 2021
Canada Day has been for most Canadians, a day of celebration of our good fortune and privilege to live in this country. As a Canadian, admittedly I have become rather complacent about this good luck and international reputation - often being a little too quick to judge other countries who fail to meet Canadian standards of dignity, safety, and justice. How naïve.
The numerous volumes of the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada Commission (TRC), published in 2015, document a very different Canada; one that does not cohere well with who many of us think we are. The recent recoveries of unmarked graves in Kamloops by the the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation and in Saskatchewan by the Cowessess First Nation with the likelihood of many more in the coming weeks and months has provided not only more physical evidence of Canada's past mistreatment of Indigenous peoples, but also is further evidence of an ontological disregard for Indigenous peoples as individuals worthy of dignity in life and in death.
Our flags at King’s will remain at half-mast for a total of 31 days, one hour for each person at Cowessess First Nation. This minor act is far too little. We are working on how teaching and research at King’s can allow us to contribute to solutions regarding injustices.
As King’s closes on June 30 through July 2 in appreciation for all the hard work by King's employees and for this 154th Canada Day, I hope that all of you will be with your friends and loved ones. I hope that you will take time to re-energize from the hard work you have done for King’s during this long pandemic. I also hope that perhaps, rather than a day of celebration of the past, we refocus our thoughts to reflect on the truth of our past and what we will do in the future to own our history and to genuinely work to make this wonderful-yet-flawed country better – one person at a time.
Take care of yourself and each other over these days off from work at King’s and know that this place can pause as we reflect and acknowledge what it means to live and work here.