I Know Your Sorry
If you haven’t please click above and watch Leonard Sumners I Know Your Sorry. I often hear non-Indigenous people express great sorrow for crimes committed against Indigenous people, then…. There is a pause. The pause is followed by a statement of hopelessness, that they don’t know where to start, that they are afraid to offend, that somehow their expression of sorrow is enough shrug their shoulders and walk off.
Can I tell you nothing infuriates me more than this? I can handle racism more than I can handle apathy. This is like a child dumping lego all over the living room floor and not cleaning it up. But further telling you that they don’t know where to start. Or even it was like this when they got there… their sibling, cousin or someone else made the mess and they shouldn’t be held accountable.
Do you know why that makes me mad? Because my family and community have to live in the mess they didn’t create and try to clean it up when we have nowhere to put the pieces. I am livid that neo liberal tendencies are to shrug shoulders and go back to doing whatever else they were doing before Indigenous people inconvenienced them by making them feel bad.
OK Its out of my system so how can you do something about it. The first thing is not go talk to the Indigenous peeps on your campus. No no there is no cheating off of others. This is your own work.
We work in academics, so lets be academics. Whenever I am faced with a new problem, service delivery or some new issue I immediately turn to literature. I suggest people read. Indigenization is building a large body of literature, both pro and con (Read anything by Francis Wootherspoon).
But is it really hard? Drinking water in First Nation Communities? How hard is that, it is a simple capital investment. Indigenization of Post Secondary…. Start with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) there are less than 10 calls in that document. They focus on the (re)education of Teachers, Health Professionals, Media and Lawyers. Simply give them cultural competence to work and respect Indigenous peoples. I am not sure how hard that is. Literally anything beyond that is indigenization. The calls are not Indigenization they are to reconcile us to zero (more about this in the future).
Indigenization can and should be much more. CiCan has asked its Colleges to sign on to a protocol which looks at Indigenization throughout the institution. But again if you are stuck in neutral read the Truth and Reconcilation Calls to action and do one, two or all of them.
So I know your sorry. I know that you feel bad about the time my grandparents spent in residential school. I know your sorry that my daughter has less money spent on her education and care than other Canadian children. That my community has been in a greater economic depression than the Great depression since the Community signed our treaty. But for me to truly forgive I need to see remorse through actions not words. Cause frankly I am starting to doubt your sorry.
PLEASE PLEASE NOTE September 30th is Orange T-shirt Day. That is a Saturday many of us are wearing our Orange shirts on Sept 29th. Please take pics of your orange shirts and tag me on Twitter. @markjsolomon