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Canada Day a perfect time to celebrate Indigenous resilience: Ken Coates and Karen Restoule for Inside Policy – MLI

As we look for reasons to celebrate Canada this year, let’s start in the most unlikely or underappreciated places: with the amazing resilience of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples.

At a time of intense disquiet in the country, with Canada Day reduced to little more than a national day off work with muted and cautious events across the nation, we seem to have forgotten that Canada provides us with many reasons to celebrate. Let’s start in an unexpected quarter: the amazing and inspirational resilience of Indigenous peoples.

For at least two generations, Canadians have focused on the crises and challenges facing Indigenous peoples. This follows on the heels of a century of obsessing about the “Indian problem,” which involved decades of attempts to draw First Nations, Metis, and Inuit into the Canadian mainstream. These efforts at cultural and economic transformation – the Indian Act, reserves, residential and day schools – were made worse by systematic neglect of the government’s legal and political obligations.

The results of Canadian “problem solving” are well-documented: widespread poverty, intense marginalization, massively underfunded community infrastructure, poor health outcomes, distressing levels of educational performance, staggeringly high unemployment rates, and the wreckage caused by racial discrimination and its close partner, government paternalism. There are many reasons for non-Indigenous Canadians to be ashamed, embarrassed, and repentant. Let’s save that important recognition for another day.

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