Reconciliation is the word-du-jour. We hear it from politicians every day and see it everywhere with lowered Canadian flags and pictures of toppled statues and re-named streets.
Most of this is silly and changes nothing. Does it bring back one dead child? Does is seriously address the court challenges on land claims?
The problem is – absolutely no one has defined the word. Reconciliation. What are we actually talking about?
Webster’s dictionary defines reconciliation as “1) to make friendly again, 2) to settle a quarrel”. Interestingly, the word found just before Reconcile in the dictionary is Recompense: “to repay or reward” and here, I think we get closer to the heart of the matter – money. And lots of it.
Speaking of defining terms: when we are at public gatherings and guiltily mumble about being on ‘unceded territory’ – what are we really talking about? Since most of our major Canadian cities are on ‘unceded territory’ – think Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa (well, really most of our cities and towns) – we are talking about something so huge we can’t even begin to comprehend it.
So, I think it’s about time we put the flags back up, leave Queen Victoria and Sir John A. MacDonald alone and define our terms. What do indigenous people mean by reconciliation? What do governments mean by reconciliation? And what is the full financial and legal implication of settling the matter of ‘unceded territory’?
Otherwise, it’s just blah blah blah and means absolutely nothing.