downandout_paquette

In Canada, the majority of prison inmates are Native.

That is: First Nations, Metis, Inuk.

In Canada the majority of homeless, or people on the streets are Native.

In Canada, the vast majority of children who do not have access to clean water, decent education, food security and health care are Native.

In Canada, half of the children are in foster care are Native. The Native child population is still being removed from their families.

The history of this land that you don’t learn, that you aren’t taught, is a Native history and began thousands of years ago.

The people Native to this land lived free, lived happy, lived strong. There was no issue of substance abuse, sexual abuse, domestic abuse.

While I’m sure not everything was a paradise, and to be sure there were wars and conflicts, the general reality was a pretty good one.

These social ills are a direct result of colonization and it didn’t just happen a long time ago. It is happening today.

The theft of land.

The theft of resources.

The theft of innocence, of decency, of culture and of soul.

These things still happen.

I could spend a lifetime correcting the many many untruths you have been told by the government, by those who don’t know what they are talking about, by those with their own agendas, and I wouldn’t touch the tip of the iceberg.

There is a continuing effort to marginalize and “disappear” the people of this land. To complete the process of colonization and assimilation.

And now you know.

It was never your fault, but now that you know it becomes your responsibility.

We all watch in complicit silence as the diversity, the balance, the beauty of this world is consumed by an ever expanding culture of consumption and destruction.

We all wonder what is going to happen, who’s going to stop it, trusting that there is still time.

This painting is of my uncle, who lived on the streets and died on the streets. I am sure people assumed the worst of him, wrote him off as another bum, another native, another proof of the inherent laziness and unsuitability of a man with brown skin and a culture based in the natural laws of life.

They never saw the horrors done to him and his parents and their’s.

All in the name progress.

Rape in the name of Canada.

I tell this story and know many will be unhappy, offended, annoyed and dismissive.

But I know that there is at least one heart that will be moved. One heart that will choose to stand.

We can never right the wrongs of the past, but we can make sure we aren’t perpetuating them through our silence.

We live in an incredible time.

As a mixed race person, I have found that there is only the human race, and only one life: All Life.

We are all connected. I hold no anger for the past, but I feel we need to understand it to move forward. We need to see with open eyes.

I am your brother, your son, your father.

And you are All My Relations.

We know what the past seven generations have brought.

We can do better for the coming Seven Generations.

Hiy hiy.