In Africa, one is immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of ancient cultures that are living side by side with the 21st Century. It can seem overwhelming in both its richness and oldness.
Newcomers to Canada often comment on “the emptiness”. The lack of people on the streets, the distance from your neighbors and even your friends. There is also a huge hole, a noticeable gap for those with eyes to see in telling the story of Canada’s Indigenous peoples.
The team at Bring on the Sunshine has been sharing this story for many years in our schools: “Why do we learn about the Mennonites only when we know there were others here before them?” The Indigenous people have been represented only as shadows in a name, or the installation of a canoe sculpture to speak of their enduring presence on the land – even though they are still here. Frankly, to an outsider, its weird.
As Africans and newcomers to Canada, we are very conscious that we are stepping in the footsteps of the Colonizers and settlers of the past. This matters to us because many of us are Indigenous peoples in another land, and were also displaced. This matters so much that we teach our children of the African Diaspora their own history, as well as the truer history of the land we now live on. Unfortunately, they will not hear either of these histories in school.
We support #landback for indigenous people in Victoria Park in Waterloo Region.