What does it hurt to listen?

It seems that the only way open to be acknowledged now is to confront

What does it hurt to listen?

I am a seventh generation Canadian and have always felt a pride at being a member of a multicultural community which has, at least outwardly, prided itself on acceptance and the welcoming of all.

As I have grown older, however, I have realized that as a nation we are often far from the stereotype and what is worse, we are sometimes intolerant and even hateful toward others, especially the First Nations people. I do not advocate confrontation, but the attempt at consultation seems to have had lip service.

Sincere and inclusive consultation is the means leading to the path of justice. The purpose of justice is the appearance of unity, and without justice, there is little hope of resolving age old issues. It seems that as a nation we are in dire need of developing a tool for collective decision making, not an easy task.

When we see ‘otherness’ we are far less able to understand and acknowledge that the First Nations members of this land live in third world conditions despite inhabiting one of the richest nations of the world. Many reserves have not had potable water for decades. Relegated to the poorest land, stripped of languages and rich cultures, dehumanised in residential schools, marginalized by poverty, inhabiting substandard housing, they live where land has often been poisoned by corporate greed. Yet these members of the Canadian mosaic have survived. Among their ranks are lawyers, actors, judges, teachers, leaders.

The First Nations friends have a wonderful saying that is said after speaking. It is the phrase “All my relations”. This is not just a simple phrase but one that has deep meaning. It states that we are all one — all of us. DNA now supports it. Yet, it seems that the only way open to be acknowledged now is to confront; to say that “we are here; that what we believe matters; we will no longer be ignored.” There is no easy solution. Trains must run, ships must carry and empty their cargoes. Most of us live in a time sensitive world. But we are reaping the whirlwind from decades of misunderstanding and injustice. Many of these elders still hold secrets to protecting the environment and healing our bodies and spirits. What does it hurt to listen?

Zannetta Varley Anthony

Cobble Hill

Letters

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley food banks reopen on a limited basis

CMS handing out hampers, Basket Society doing hampers and sandwiches

Province restricts open burning in Cowichan Valley until April 15

Measure meant to assist fight against COVID-19

What you said: Shingles vaccine worthy of consideration

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash

‘The Office’ star John Krasinski offers Some Good News in trying times

‘The human spirit still found a way to break through and blow us all away’

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

Canada to spend $2B more on procuring medical supplies for COVID-19 fight

Government has signed deals with three companies

World COVID-19 updates: Putin may be exposed; 30,000 prisoners released

Comprehensive news update from around the world as of Tuesday, March 31.

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

‘This is no joke’: B.C. woman in Alberta hospital asks people to stay home during COVID-19

‘I want people to start listening to what the doctors are saying. This is no joke, please stay home’

Rest stops barring washroom access to truckers a ‘huge problem’ as COVID-19 spreads

Teamsters Canada says truckers are increasingly being denied warm meals

Canadians asked to wash mailboxes, keep dogs at bay, to ensure safe mail delivery

Four postal workers in Canada have tested positive for COVID-19 infection:

Most Read