Indian Country 52 #27 – 150 (Canada)
“The milestone is being commemorated across the country this year. But as maple leaf-adorned paraphernalia flies off store shelves and the capital city of Ottawa prepares for thousands of tourists to attend Canada Day celebrations on 1 July, some Canadians have been questioning what, exactly, is being celebrated.
“Every single time I see a Canada 150 logo I want to take a Sharpie and add a couple zeros to the end of it,” Inuk filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril told a forum earlier this year. “Asking me to celebrate Canada as being 150 years old is asking me to deny 14,000 years of indigenous history on this continent.”
The anniversary marks the year that the British North America Act was passed by the British parliament, paving the way for colonies of Canada – which included Ontario and Quebec – to join Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in creating a single Dominion of Canada.
In Vancouver, city officials initially considered boycotting the event, worried that honouring the country’s colonial past would compromise its efforts towards reconciliation with local First Nations.”
– The Guardian, Canada celebrates 150 but indigenous groups say history is being ‘skated over’.
“The controversy comes just as the exhibit Shame and Prejudice by artist Kent Monkman, offering a scathing sesquicentennial look at Canada’s treatment of First Nations people, has opened at the Glenbow Museum.
Bakhmut pointed to a website explaining the Colonialism 150 outlook whose author Eric Ritskes speaks of “refusing Canada” due to “the violence of its founding and maintenance, and its profound, ongoing mechanisms of exclusion; this is a call to refuse its false sense of belonging.”
Ritskes, a University of Toronto sociology and equity studies PhD candidate, said he supplied the Colonialism 150 sticker to the Lethbridge gallery after it approached him.
“I was contacted by someone from the art gallery who was interested in displaying varying perspectives of Canada 150 and asked if they could use the image,” said Ritskes via email.
He said it’s perfectly fair and appropriate for the gallery to display that perspective among those supplied by others and that it’s time Canadians admitted to their country’s dark history.
“It is a celebration of 150 years of the theft of indigenous lands, 150 years of genocide, 150 years of colonialism that is on top of the tens of thousands of years of indigenous sovereignty,” he said.
Bakhmut said those viewpoints make the sticker all the more intolerable.”
– Calgary Herald, ‘A rejection of Canada’: Colonialism 150 sticker at Lethbridge art gallery draws ire.
Download the 18″x24″ poster (.pdf), Indian Country 52 #27 – 150 (Canada & Colonialism).
Indian Country 52
Indian Country 52 is a weekly project by David Bernie that uses the medium of posters that promote issues and stories in Indian Country. Follow the series: Indian Country 52
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This work by David Bernie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. You may download, share, and post the images under the condition that the works are attributed to the artist.