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Poul's Corner: Canada's 150th

Posted by Poul Mark on

You might not know this about my background, but I used to be a lawyer - I actually went to law school and practiced as a lawyer and my field of practice was actually aboriginal law. I’ve been thinking these last couple of days as we’re coming up onto Canada Day and preparing to celebrate 150 years of this amazing country we call home. Don’t get me wrong I’m so thankful to live in Canada and I’m a proud Canadian, I love this country and I think we have one of the best countries in the world, but it’s got me thinking a little bit about the protest that’s happening in conjunction with Canada 150, and that’s Unsettling Canada 150. It’s all of our First Nations, all of our aboriginals in this country, who are drying to draw attention to the fact that 150 years after confederation and they’re still waiting for all the promises made by the crown made so many years ago, to be fulfilled. The reality is that we have to remember that we’re all immigrants in this amazing country, we, or our parents or our grand-parents all came from somewhere else, and when we arrived in this amazing country, this vast, barren and desolate place, we were greeted and welcomed warmly by the First Nations. They showed us around, they helped us settle this country, they taught us how to fish and trap and they navigated on our behalf and in order to avoid war and conflict, we made treaties with them. The Crown made treaties and made promises to them, and in good faith the people who were here before us, agreed to those promises. And without getting into the details, there are events piled upon each other where every time First Nations have tried to pick themselves up and go forward, we’ve put them back down. And so, on this blog that I’ve been working on for the last little while, and in the theme of encouraging you to ask questions and think about things, I’d like you to think this Canada Day about the cost this great freedom, this great country of ours has had on the people who were here before us. And as you celebrate this amazing country, think about all the people that are still waiting for promises to be fulfilled.

You might wonder how this has anything to do with coffee. The reality is the coffee industry is largely a product of colonization. Think about Central America and South America and the proliferation of coffee spreading across that vast part of Central and South America with the advancement of colonization. So we can be thankful on one hand that we have coffee as a result of it, but we have to remember that many of the indigenous populations, if not all of them in those countries where we celebrate coffee are struggling with the same issues that the friends of ours here in Canada are struggling with as well.

So on this Canada Day, celebrate! Be proud to be Canadian! But also think and remember all of those who are still waiting to participate fully in this amazing country of ours.

Happy Canada Day,

Poul

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