April 23rd, 1945

My dearest Michael,

I am writing this letter with the deepest and most solemn intentions. What I wish to tell you cannot be confined into words, and I hope you take my words, but most importantly my feelings to heart. I wish to tell you a bit about my life, and the cause that I fought for, and with all my mind I hope I can live through tomorrow to see you at home.

It is now the April of 1945, and we have been at war for the past 5 years. I serve now in the RCN, on HMCS Brantford, and I know firsthand the perilous conditions we face every single day on the Atlantic. What a miserable, rotten hopeless life, an Atlantic so rough it seems impossible that a sailor can continue to take this unending pounding and still remain in one piece. Over the course of the battle so far, more than 3,600 Canadian sailors lost their lives in the seas, and more than 752 air men passed away. Canada and our allies, the USN, RN and FFN, stand together in the fight, but no one is safe from the U-boats, and nowhere can we find refuge. Stretching from the cold water of Labrador Sea or the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the waters sailed by the Home Fleet, the allies have been racing to transport materials to Europe, escorting convoys of more than a dozen ships. In the longest battle of the War, the Battle of the Atlantic, we have suffered more than 4000 allied ship loses so far, and millions of tonnages of goods. The imminent victory to the Allied Forces did not come at a small cost.

Canadians are peacekeepers and non-aggressors for the most part, but we are also loyalists to our allies. I have said this in disregard for the French, which you know I am not a part of. I believe that they have made a mistake by going against our war efforts like conscription, and their recalcitrant attitude hinders our support to the rightful cause. Anglophones like me cannot understand their decisions now, but at least they cheer with us when we secure a U-boat kill. The success of the Navy and Air Force united Canada for short bursts, but looking back at the Great War, I doubt its longevity. I do hope that in your time the French Canadians will stand at the same front as the English, and Canada can stand united in a time of global conflict.

The war is affecting Canada on many fronts, many dear to your own family’s lives. Your parents, who are young children at this time, live conservatively with limited supplies. Even the dress of women changed to a simpler outfit. As result of millions willingly contributing to the war effort, Canada has built more than a million tonnages of cargo ships, and more than 200 worships. This has been called “remarkable,” “astonishing” and “magnificent” by an English official, and Canadian strength and economic stability is just starting to shine through the horizon. Canadians are also starting to get together to hear the news and bond with their neighbors, and new job opportunities industrialized many towns. Through the French may realize that their voices are not being considered in this country, bringing some degree of political separation, the war so far has changed Canada’s economy and social identities for the better. This, in no way, mean that the War is beneficial to us, and you must remember that one life lost is one too many. We can only look back blessed that we were not hit as hard as others are.

The Battle of the Atlantic is the turning point of the entire War, even if you take my personal bias out. Without the support of hundreds of Canadian warships, Britain and the Soviet Union could not have continued fighting, and we would have lost the war in Europe. Canadians entered the War with less than twenty serviceable warships, and the number now exceeds three hundred. Canadians are now respected worldwide for their valiant fighting and their industrial power, and we are gaining speed economically and politically. The industries that were built up will continue to power Canada, and our international relations are never stronger. I see a bright future for Canada, one in which it is considered an equal to other world powers.

This is both a testament and a memoir from a sailor, documenting the experiences of the terrible War. I write in a perilous situation, facing a last stand from a Wolfsrudel of 15. I write this so that you will know how War changes everything, from the perspective of one who has gone through it all. I hope you now know about

 

THE DAILY SUN – JUNE 5, 1866

Dear citizens and voters of New Brunswick,

As your Premier for the greater part of the past 5 years, I would like to thank you, the hardworking and steadfast people along the banks of St. John, for supporting me with your voices and ideas. I stand firmly behind the ideas of a confederation, a union of the British North American colonies, and a Dominion of Canada. As I stand as Premier with a majority, I will represent New Brunswick in the conferences to come that will determine our place in the Dominion. A strong nation in the North has been a part of my dreams for almost 20 years now, and hopefully, it will be yours as well.

I believe that you are all well aware of the benefits of a united nation, that of increased trades, better defences, and most of all, a great railway that will connect all of the previously separated provinces. Our beloved home is, unfortunately, not the best in terms of financial debt, but a union can bring new trade and work opportunities to a deprived economy. Our trade deal with the Americans had ended and Britain had long resorted to free trade, so the only and best option left to us would be to look around us. We have all of our colonies, each with different wants and fears, which a mutual trade relationship could satisfy. And any commercial union will inevitably lead to some kind of political union, one in which I now support. With the trans-colonial railway, we will have an influx of new cultures and produces, and we may freely travel to a place of our choosing. Our industrial settlements will boom from the construction of the railway and the resultant effects, and New Brunswick can then lift itself up as a powerful and responsible province.

The recent Fenian raids on the Indian Island may have hit most of you as an alarming call to get our defences up. For those who are blissfully ignorant, the civil war has just ended in the South, and the States are eying us with pity and dominance. Their “Manifest Destiny” threatens to annex our lands. Fenians are small threats compared to the armies of the Union States, and Great Britain is unable to defend us over such great a border. Only the combined power and statue of a united Canada can stop us from being robbed of our beliefs and cultures. United, we are stronger than any single province fighting on its own. It is necessary, therefore, to bind together the Atlantic and Pacific by a continuous chain of settlements and line of communications, for that was the destiny of this country and the race which inhabited it.

I had owned a pharmacy and I know firsthand the needs of the people and the province. I promise to fight for financial security and the great railway with all of my power. You need not worry about the position of New Brunswick in the new union, as I myself am a loyal citizen of this great province. I have and will advocate for strong provincial governments and equitable distribution of federal money, and the rights and autonomy of the citizens. You know me as one who speaks with logic and numbers, and I will not fail you in ensuring Maritime rights. Our independence is inevitable and nodded on by Her Majesty Queen Victoria, and it will only serve to strengthen our relationship with the Great Empire as more of a friend and less of a servant. Therefore, support me and my government, and we will build a strong country together.

I will soon depart for London to negotiate the terms for the first great country to be on this land, one proclaimed to be “inhabited by barbarians, bears and beavers” only, and in a few months time, we might finally call ourselves with the proudness of one belonging to a free and mighty nation – Canadians. Once again, I wish to thank you deeply for your support, and I will continue to uphold a responsible government serving its people.

 

Yours sincerely,

S. L. Tilley

1866

“He shall have Dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.” -Psalms 72:8


Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Wallace, C. M. “Biography – TILLEY, Sir SAMUEL LEONARD – Volume XII (1891-1900) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography.” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. 12, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 1990, www.biographi.ca/en/bio/tilley_samuel_leonard_12E.html.

“Quebec History.” Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley Father of Confederation, Marianopolis College, faculty.marianopolis.edu/c.belanger/quebechistory/encyclopedia/SirSamuelLeonardTilley-CanadianHistory.htm.

 

ON Sir JAM’s Public Affairs

Canada’s first prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald once remarked, “let us be English or let us be French . . . and above all let us be Canadians,” leading the two opposing cultures to unite as Canada.  John A. Macdonald’s efforts in bonding the North and giving birth to the Confederation has long granted him a place as one of the greatest prime ministers in Canada, but recent reformations and value changes sheds light on his not-so-great acts. Many critics urged for the removal of his figure and likeness from the public sphere, but due to his lasting positive influence and the remembrance of our past through statues, I firmly believe that John A. Macdonald’s name should remain in the public sphere.

Throughout the history of mankind, many notable people have come and past, their best ideas and contributions engraved in our brains and our society, and Macdonald is one of those visionaries and missionaries. There can be no denial of his part in founding Canada, from solidifying the notion of two official languages, to building and expanding the confederations, Macdonald is someone who deserves to go remembered. Macdonald believed that “[Canada is] a great country and shall become one of the greatest in the universe if we preserve it; [but] we shall sink into insignificance and adversity if we suffer it to be broken,” and held on to his beliefs with the National Policy to insist on a independent and free Canada, even while many are leaving for the US. It is safe to say that without him, Canada would not be the Canada today. The good that he did are irreplaceable by any other person from his era, but his mistakes are common in almost every other political opponent. Macdonald deserves to be remembered by not just those who can afford to learn history in the private sphere, but everyone who have the right to walk the streets. Removing his name and figure not only removes his contributions, but also an opportunity to connect with the past.

 

 

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/economic-canadian-american-relations/

DOL #2: CPR

To what extent did John A. McDonald’s decision to build the CPR influence Canada as seen now?

  • Historical Significance: 

Outline the focus of your inquiry and provide background knowledge. Why is this an important and significant question to ask about the past? Provide evidence from primary and secondary sources.

The CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) was a transcontinental railway system that would connect the west with the more developed and populated east. It was promised by John A. MacDonald, our first prime minister, when he rose to power in 1867, leading to the entry of British Columbia into Confederation. The railway came under many critics’ attack, and the Pacific Scandal threw MacDonald off the seat of power. When MacDonald came back to power in 1878, he was determined to make the railway happen. The Canadian Pacific Railway company was incorporated in 1881, and construction finished late 1885. Soon, the first passenger train arrived transcontinental into Port Moody from Montreal in 1886.

Map of Canada with BC, Canada and the other provinces. Image from cpconnectingcanada.ca

The CPR is a huge operation at the beginning of Canada’s history, and in the process of making it happen, many mistakes and sacrifices were made. It is undeniable, however, that it profoundly changed the course of Canada and its people. By weighing the pros with the cons, we can judge the value of the CPR and MacDonald’s decision in retrospect.

  • Cause and Consequence:

Why did your researched events happen the way they did and what were the consequences?

  • Perspective

The first intentions of the railway were to prompt BC to join the Confederation and grow the feeble Canadian economy independent of the US (who refused all trade with Canada at the time). The two goals were certainly met, as BC joined the Confederation soon after the railway was promised with the condition that it must be built in a decade, and businesses sprouted all along the western provinces. The addition of British Columbia further diversified Canada both socially and environmentally and provided a place for people to settle. Canada’s increasing land mass supported its growth politically and economically too, gaining more voice as its assets increased. The railway also fueled new corporations to develop and flourish. The communities started from scratch to provide necessities of life. The new environments also demanded new industries different from the ones Canadians are used to. Fur trading companies became farming and logging ones and snowplows were replaced by farm forks. The west and the east could trade local goods, and everyone was happy – the people, who had the commodities they wanted, the companies, who lowered expenses in transport and increased sales, and the government, who sees increased nationalism and a better self-sustaining economy. The brand new Canadian settlements needed much, and the new revenues meant better economy. It is a positive influence on Canadian development as seen from the eyes of mainstream Canadians.

The Last Spike being laid by Donald A. Smith on Nov. 7, 1885. Image from Library and Archives Canada

There are more unintended and unthought of consequences of the CPR though. The railway was built on the 10 million hectares of land provided by the government, but one might ask: where did that land come from? To make way for the railway, thousands of indigenous people are forced to leave the land that they have resided on for many hundreds of years. MacDonald even resorted to using hunger to stave off the people, killing many with starvation. These inhumane acts reflect values then and even values now, when indigenous people are on many fronts not equal to non-indigenous Canadians. The Canadian “victory” over the indigenous may even have served to ridicule Louis Riel’s efforts to keep the Metis’ land. Discrimination had only grown with the CPR. Even now, those communities of indigenous people may remember how they lost their ancestral land because of the construction of a railway profiting white people.

Image Courtesy of The Globe and Mail; Indigenous people forced to leave

To the early Chinese in Canada, the CPR didn’t bring much hope at all. Forced to work in danger with very little pay, the Chinese workers often died on the job. The Canadians found that the Chinese can be paid very little, expected to work on hard jobs, and more of all be bullied around without care of their lives. Subsequently after completion of the railway, a head tax was introduced for Chinese immigrants, and they were denied the right to vote. The building of the CPR didn’t do much for the Chinese, who only suffered more because of the labour and discrimination. The history and culture of maltreatment for the Chinese and Asian minorities may have influenced as far as Canada’s treatment of the Japanese in WW2. Looking at the present society, few of the evidence from that period of maltreatment can be seen as apologies are made and history avoided. However, we need to remember that the same event can be great to one community, race or even country, but the back side of the story is often either untold or drown out in a sea of chants coming from the majority in the front rows.

It is important to mention that although John A. MacDonald did many things unacceptable by today’s standards, we are judging him from our own perspective. Many of his policies contained acceptance not found in his era. We shouldn’t blame him for his actions extensively, but to properly criticize his actions, we need to look at a different perspective from his own time.

  • Social Studies Inquiry Process

What conclusions can you reach about your question, based on the research you conducted?

Through an investigation into the influence of the CPR, it becomes evident that many actions, even ones that is celebrated by something as large as a nation, can have darker sides. While something may have tremendously positive influences, the negative influences could also be far-reaching and extensive, as is the case with the CPR. As all humans are equal, we cannot just shout “for the greater good” and only look at the big picture. It is necessary, especially in the case of multiple identities (Indigenous Canadian, etc.) to investigate every possible perspective to assess a fair picture of the consequences of an action. The negatives can be hard to find in a sea of praise, but it is just in fairytales that “all lived happily ever after” exist.


 

Sources:

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/canadian-pacific-railway/

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/national-policy/

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/when-canada-used-hunger-to-clear-the-west/article13316877/

https://www.library.ubc.ca/chineseinbc/railways.html

http://www.cpr.ca/en/about-cp-site/Documents/cp-history-for-students.pdf

Images are linked.

 

Document of Learning 1: Postnationalism

“There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada. Those qualities are what make us the first postnational state.”

-Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (2015)

  1. Choose an event from Canada’s past or present (social, political, environmental, or economic) and describe/illustrate (show cause and effect) how this event influenced / influences all four of the quadrants. Provide images / primary source evidence where possible.
  2. Does your event represent a step towards creating and maintaining a coherent Canadian identity, or does it move Canada more clearly in the direction of Trudeau’s discussion of a “postnational” state?
  3. In your opinion, is there any value in trying to define a specific Canadian identity, or should we abandon this idea towards a more open and global idea of nationhood? Why?

 

One of the key events that has shaped Canadian identity and affects all aspects of our lives is the right to universal health care. Tommy Douglas (NDP) first proposed it as premier of Saskatchewan in 1947, urging for free basic hospital care. All of the provinces and territories soon followed, helping Canadians across the country live without fear of health issues regardless of their wealth. The medical program soon expanded and improved to include more treatments covered, leading to the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act in 1957 and the Medical Care Act in 1966. This is a political event, but its far-reaching consequences are definitely affecting all four quadrants. This decision definitely affected the social aspect of Canadians, helping equalize people to make sure they have the same access to important social services. It is also an important step forward in making Canada the accepting, unbiased nation that it is now. It is a statement made by the government that symbolizes their determination to support all their citizens and provide them with the same fundamental rights regardless of poverty or social standing. On the economical side, the government’s decision to “reimburse, or cost share,

one-half of provincial and territorial costs for specified hospital and diagnostic services” will have an impact on the other expenses of the country. The free medical services are, after all, not cheap, knowing that the average household pays $11,320 per year in tax money. The money spent on providing care may be withdrawn from important funds, like ones set up for the environment. The Conservative party is not known for renewable energy and the like, so the health care funds may reduce environmental funding not supported by the government. Also, the fact that people won’t have to pay for healthcare will mean that a lot more people will use the system, increasing strain on the system and usage of medical supplies, creating more waste that may harm the environment.

This act has moved Canada closer as a nation by emphasizing to the world the values that Canadians are proud of. Even today, free universal health care is not the case in many countries in the world, and the fact that Canada is part of this group says something about our stand regarding human rights. From the women’s rights movements in 1929 to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, Canada has shown itself to be a nation that embraces change to accept all races, genders or social classes. Canada’s decision to spend valuable funds on the universal health care system to provide access to a healthy life for everyone states its priorities to the world. At that time, not many countries would use big sums of money to help the poor, but we did, and that action at the time made millions of Canadians proud. It is actions like this, ones which distinguish Canada from the rest, that shapes Canadian identity, and I believe that everyone, whether then or now, would see us Canadians as open and tolerant people.

I firmly believe that we, as Canadians, should have a collective identity that overarches on the sea of different values and beliefs. It is only through this sense of being “Canadian” that we could be united as a nation and a country. Canadians in this country may have distinct values and beliefs, but just like how Americans are united by the idea of “freedom and ideas”, we should be people drawn together by something as well. This something, I think, is the strive for equality. As a nation, the Canadian identity is gender equality (LGBTQ + as well), immigration and refugee help, First Nations support, and multiculturalism. Regardless of whether the government is doing well to actualize those things, they are the things that Canadians care about and believe in. This is what makes Canada the nations that it is, huge ideas that support and protect the multitude of small, individual ideas, knowing that our differences can’t break us, but only unite us.

Historical Thinking: What is Important in SS 10

Based on our conversations in class today, your prior experience, and the “Guideposts to Historical Thinking” handout, which historical thinking question do you believe is the most important to consider for a vibrant and challenging Social Studies experience this year? Why?

I believe that the most important question to ask in our Social Studies experience is that of how the history, on paper, relates to our lives in the 3-dimensional world. Anything that we learn in the classroom needs to be applied to our lives in order to make a difference. If history remains history and not experience, they are just stories to entertain, pedantic knowledge that does nothing except to showcase memory. It may sound easy, but it actually requires us to build connections with the text and to be careful not to impose current values on past societies. A guidepost to historical thinking states that “a fair assessment of the ethical implications of history can inform us of our responsibilities to remember and respond… [to] the past.” Understanding the context of why people did what they have done will present to us what has happened in its truth. It is important that we try to give credit to the wronged and shed light on the past, not just for history’s sake, but for our sake too. Our understanding of history can help us make informed decisions about issues in our own society, and that is what ultimately matters.

Growing Up a Newfie: 1853

Today was my first time out on the ice. Not only was it my first time working with my father, and it was also the first time I killed a seal. I’ve never felt so alive! It’s no secret that it has become a right of passage for the men in the community, but even so I never expected it to feel so invigorating. My father always said that “your first kill will be something you remember ’till the day you die”, and I am quite certain he was right. The rush that came from watching the life fade from that seal’s eyes is indescribable.

I know that this business is one that I can really pour my heart into, and I look forward to my future in it. I don’t know where this work will take me, but I am certain that it will be somewhere I want to go.

Canada and Cultural Genocide

Cultural genocide is a term used to describe the deliberate destruction of the cultural heritage of a people or nation for political, military, religious, ideological, ethnical, or racial reasons.
-http://jughaculturalgenocide.blogspot.ca/2010/12/about-cultural-genocide-what-is-it.html
In the early years of Canada, such atrocities were committed to the aboriginal peoples residing there. Today I am here to discuss how and why Canada committed cultural genocide.

When it came to committing genocidal acts, there are no shortage of examples. To commit cultural genocide, one must not only disrupt the traditions of the people, they must ensure that the children do not practice the traditions of, or even think like their predecessors. This was accomplished by displacing communities, forbidding certain languages and practices, and enforcing mandatory enrollment for aboriginal children in what Canada called “Residential Schools”.

Each of these acts are horrible and inhumane, but thankfully some of their culture survived, and the government is no longer intentionally committing such acts. Now while these are just a few examples of Canada’s actions, it is more than sufficient to say that Canada certainly attempted to commit cultural genocide. With that being said, it’s time to ask ourselves “why?”.

Early European settlers interacted with the aboriginals, and while under the crown few of the initial interactions were peaceful. The settlers wanted land from the “savages”, and the aboriginals merely wanted to leave in peace. The concept of land ownership was alien to them, so for it to be introduced and strictly enforced was brutal.

After Confederation, Canada once again expanded over aboriginal land. However this time it was for a tactical advantage against the United States of America, instead of just greed and the thrill of exploration. However, it was not only the land they took, but at this time residential schools began to exist.

When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with its parents, who are savages, and though he may learn to read and write, his habits and training mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write. It has been strongly impressed upon myself, as head of the Department, that Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men.”                                     – John A. Macdonald 1879

At this point one can clearly determine that aboriginal culture was inferior to the European based culture the settlers had developed. It was this  thought that they were lesser that allowed the government to commit such horrible acts for what they saw as the greater good, without any admission of wrongdoing.

Ultimately when it came Cultural Genocide, it is no longer a secret to how many horrible acts Canada committed. While now the actions taken and reasons behind them seem horrid, hopefully we all can learn from the mistakes of the past to ensure a brighter future.

Précis

https://franciscan-archive.org/columbus/opera/excerpts.html

Archive, Franciscan. “Christopher Columbus: Log Excerpts.”

This website was quite interesting because it provided a translated version of Christopher Columbus’s logs, without speaking of any translation issues. It simply provides information, without providing any opinion of the material.

Monday, 6 August. The rudder of the caravel Pinta became loose, being broken or unshipped. It was believed that this happened by the contrivance of Gomez Rascon and Christopher Quintero, who were on board the caravel, because they disliked the voyage. The Admiral says he had found them in an unfavorable disposition before setting out. He was in much anxiety at not being able to afford any assistance in this case, but says that it somewhat quieted his apprehensions to know that Martin Alonzo Pinzon, Captain of the Pinta, was a man of courage and capacity. Made a progress, day and night, of twenty-nine leagues.

The Importance of Reconciliation I The Effects of our Relationship I DOL 1

Origins: Canada’s True Identity

When you think of Canada, what do you think of? I think of bronze medals, ice, forest, and maple syrup. But beyond the stereotypical things we consider Canadian, I see our country as a respectful, safe, free, open, and neutral place. The words diversity, acceptance, connection, and apologies come to mind. But never would I have paired the origins of Canada with the word “cultural genocide”.

Growing up in a public school, I’ve had opportunities to meet some First Nations people and learn a bit about their ways. I’ve always known that the land we stand on was and is theirs, but I’ve never made the connection or filled in the empty history; failing to ask myself the question of how we got from just First Nations people to the diverse country we are today?

Looking at our Canadian identity and what we stand for, I believe we value truth and respect. Although most of me still believe that, reading the Truth & Reconciliation Commission made me realize that there is so much more to Canada than what meets the eye. The “dark side” of our history is something we don’t often talk about. To “fix” what we did or mend this broken relationship, we must first own up to our mistakes, and to do that, we must be open and truthful.

It is so important to not just show our “proud” moments but be open about our shameful moments too. The “dark” part our history is a part our story and stories need to be told. It is important we own up to what we have done and stop hiding from it. If the horrific parts of our history aren’t shared, how can learn and grow from them? How can we move past them? The fact of the matter is we can’t move forward without looking back, which to me, is one of the main reasons why reconciliation is so important.


Questions: The Long-Term Effects of a Broken Relationship

Big Question:

  • Why is reconciliation important?
  • How does our relationship with the First Nations people affect Canada’s identity, progress, and the people?
  • How does our relationship affect our political, economic, and social decisions currently?

Trying to wrap my head around our origins, actions, identity, and how it all connects, the big question of “why is reconciliation important” led me to more specific questions relating to the effects of our relationship with the First Nation peoples.

Starting out grade 9 TALONS with the talk on Columbus and tackling the big idea of how history is written by the winners, the “discovery” of Canada lands in a similar boat. So much happened in the 150 years of Canada, it is not only important to understand what happened and hear both sides, but see why reconciling this lost relationship is so important. It would be easy to just gloss that part of our history over and live in the “safe, respectful, and open” façade of a country we call Canada, but abandoning reconciliation changes our country’s identity as a whole. The truth of the matter is that our relationship with the First Nations people is still affecting us today, and ignoring this is not going to progress us further.

Looking at how something in the past still affects us today, I wanted to explore current issues and see…

  • how our relationship with the First Nations people affect our political, economic, and social decisions, as well as our progress
  • how this relationship affecting us right now as a country and as a people
  • how this affecting the first nations, the immigrants, the Canadians
  • how our relationship affects our Canadian identity and our values

Research: Slowed “Progression” in “our home and native land”

When I think of our country and of the First Nations people, it is interesting how we often see the First Nations community as an obstacle to “progress” our country in an economic way. Because Canada is so rich in natural resources, one of the ways we are “progressing” our country forward is to export these natural resources. Building pipelines and mining the land is one of the many ways we extract and export. A few particular projects, such as the Kinder Morgan Pipeline and Northern Gateway Pipeline, created a lot of controversy and concern.

On the one hand, creating a pipeline will strengthen our economy, but on the other hand, it has the possibility of destroying the very land we are on. Besides the environmentalists, the First Nations people, who have a very strong relationship with nature, have made claims on lands and have “slowed progression” of some of these projects.
An example of this is found in CBC news, where a “Former First Nations chief stakes claim on B.C. mining minister’s property.” Bev Sellars, the former chief of the Xat’sull First Nation at Soda Creek, made a claim to raise awareness about placer miners. Upset that it was so easy to be certified as a free miner, she wrote “I didn’t have to contact the people of the private property …  I didn’t have to prove that I had any awareness about the environment or the impacts of the industry. I didn’t have to know about the right of the local First Nations people.”

A reason why Bev Sellars is feeling so passionately about raising awareness is because back in 2014, “the Xat’sull First Nation was one of the communities affected by the breach of the tailings pond at the Mount Polley mine.”

David Haslam, the Energy and Mines Ministry spokesperson said that a placer mineral claim is “only for the purpose of conducting exploration activity” and is subject to a number of legal conditions and restrictions. “These restrictions make it extremely unlikely that any of the surface of this placer claim would actually be available for the recorded holder to conduct any form of exploration activity”, said Haslam.

Although this may be true, this doesn’t solve the issue that 1. Many people are unaware of placer mines and the destruction it can cause 2. That the people making the decisions are not listening or taking into full consideration the possible destruction it could cause, and 3. Canada’s relationship with the First Nations people has not progressed to a point where we are both understand each other. In the last part of the article, it states that “Haslam said the province is committed to collaborating with First Nations and works closely with the First Nations Energy and Mining Council so that First Nations’ perspectives on mining can be better understood.” Yes, this is great news, but it just shows us how far we have to go for, in the year 2017, we still don’t have a great understanding between the two groups.

Another rising issue is the construction of the pipelines in Canada. The Northern Gateway pipeline has had a lot of controversy. In a recent article, titled “B.C. government failed to properly consult First Nations on Northern Gateway pipeline, court rules”, it talks about how the First Nations argued how the “province wasn’t living up to its duty to consult with them.” Although there are a lot more details to this current issue, I chose to talk about it for it shows, yet again, how our relationship plays such an important role in progressing our country forward.

If we had a better relationship, then greater understanding can take place. The First Nations would greater understand the politics and economic issues and the Canadian government would greater understand the environmental concerns. We would be working together, instead of trying to find faults in each other.


Conclusion: Can’t Move Forward without Looking Back

Through my research, I have realized how far we have come and how far we still have to go in reconciling and restoring this broken relationship. Only researching two to three current environmental issues, I know I have only touched the surface on what I wanted to know. I still want to answer the big question of “why reconciliation is important” and tackling the question of “how does our relationship with the First Nations people affect Canada’s identity, progress, and the people?” and “how does our relationship affect our political, economic, and social decisions currently?” I am curious to know more about the conflicts we have and seeing if we, as a nation, are actually listening to each other?

I also want to know if reconciliation is possible. With different values, can we come together as one nation? Can we build a relationship based on respect, trust, and truth when so much destruction and hurt has occurred? I am not sure if reconciliation is truly possible but I believe that we can progress to a point where we understand each other, listen to each other, and make decisions together.

I chose to research about current events to show that our relationship with the First Nations people is still relevant and affecting us in the now, which leads me back to the main question of “why is reconciliation important?” To answer a part of that question, it is important because our relationship is causing setbacks and slowing down our “progress”. How can we truly move forward without looking back? I hope to find a greater understanding by digging deeper into these questions, finding personal relevance and meaning in the truth.