Melissa Mbarki: The lowered flag is a mockery to all Canadians, including Indigenous people


Canadian flags fly at half mast on the Peace tower and around the city Monday May 31, 2021 in Ottawa. The flags have been lowered indefinitely to recognize the discovery of children's remains at the former Kamloops Indian Residential school. PHOTO BY ADRIAN WYLD /Canadian Press

If reconciliation is what this government wants, let’s get to work. Canada should not be using a national symbol to prove their effort. The flags were lowered on May 30 after 215 unmarked graves were discovered at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. I am a proud supporter of our veterans who has made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

In the last couple of years, Veterans Affairs Canada has experienced funding cuts and backlogs resulting in delays to benefits and services. This is completely unacceptable when veterans, like Indigenous people, face high suicide rates. Indigenous leaders have asked for the flags to be lowered on the September 30th National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Canada may be in distress but the blame is not on Indigenous people.

Perhaps this is what the current government wants. To me, a lowered flag is mocking Canadians. Canadians should also be part of the debate of when to raise or lower flags. Indigenous people, like myself, are part of this country and we should all have a voice in this matter.

On the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Justin Trudeau took a vacation and turned down invitations to visit Kamloops. Sadly, I do not know how these national days for commemoration will turn out. An even bigger question is how reconciliation will look going forward. We know that more unmarked graves are yet to be found.

The revelation of residential schools has given people an opportunity to be angry and violent. As a country, we can do better. We can advocate for Indigenous issues in a peaceful manner. The backlash often comes back to Indigenous people in a hard, unapologetic way.

Source: Melissa Mbarki | NP

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