Fort Victoria depicted by Photographer/Artist Sarah Crease (1826-1922). An idyllic outpost of empire built – like most other settlements in Canada – on First Nations territory.
In preparation for writing Uphill From Here I have begun some deeper study into First Nations cultures and the deplorable colonial record of attempted annihilation perpetrated against indigenous people’s in Canada. Most of us in this day-in-age condemn that disastrous effort and accept the need and mutual responsibility for reconciliation. But I don’t believe EuroCans by-and-large are at the place yet were we can comprehend the full scope of the tragedy.
My understanding about this blight on our history is probably average, perhaps a little better than, which is to say, I have much to learn. Even at this early stage, though, I see that the descendants of the colonists (and the colonists themselves) could have learned so much from the original inhabitants of this continent about living in community and harmony with the land, if only our ancestors had substituted for the motivating mindsets of greed and conquest perspectives of curiosity, open-mindedness and adaptation.
All is far from lost, however. The resilience of First Nations cultures, and their resurgence in modern modes, means there’s still a chance for EuroCans and other ethnic groupings in this country, to learn more harmonious, less barbaric approaches to community in nature than were imposed by the 17th Century settlers, who began arriving in numbers from Europe about two centuries after the so-called ‘discovery’ of North America.
A good starting point for me, I hope, is the University of Toronto online course Aboriginal World Views and Education.