Sometimes it seems like I’m watching an epic movie of drama and barbaric injustice lately. But, it’s real life. Another one of us is gone.
Rodney Levi’s name lit up my Twitter feed Friday night. "Murdered by RCMP … this Mi’qmaq man was unarmed. This country is in chaos. Rest in Power, brother."
It hit like a poisoned arrow of torment.
Last week it was Chantal Moore. The beautiful, brown haired, brown skinned Tia-o-qui-aht First Nations mother-26, shot dead, five times at the hands of police in New Brunswick.
In April Winnipeg police shot three young Indigenous People. Two were less than 24 hours apart. Eisha Hudson, age 16. Jason Collins, 36. Stewart Keven Andrews, 22.
One of our prominent leaders, Chief Allan Adam’s beaten and bloodied picture flashed across the headlines of the world this week too. He was profiled by RCMP in Fort McMurray, tackled and arrested over an expired license plate.
I’ve cited stats in countless articles I’ve written over the last 10 years about Indigenous Peoples. You can go look up what is going on if you need proof in numbers.
This perspective is from a human standpoint, from someone who has been on the frontlines of this war against her own people, as a journalist for over a decade.
"The essence of racism is systemic. It is before our eyes, are you looking? Do you see the injustice now?"
How does it feel when your own people are being murdered from oppression on your very own home and native land? It feels like tremendous pressure on your chest, it’s like losing your breath, gasping for air and it throbs with pain. You walk around in a daze nursing another blow to the heart. You curse to the sky and you drop to your knees until you get up and walk again.
It’s like a virus. You can’t breath. And we all feel it.
But that pressure, that pain starts churning into a raging fire. A fire of a thousand generations of strength, of courage and unrelenting hope.
Hope, because it’s not 1873 anymore. Our people are not silenced anymore.
The very Dominion of Canada established an army of its foreign force to keep our people under its control. Through the North West Mounted Police, now turned RCMP, and its foundational principles which trickled out into police forces under colonial rule.
Invaders dispatched an army in the name of clearing the plains and seizing the lands from my ancestors.
That was just the beginning. After the clearing of the plains they herded our people into boxes called reservations and stood guard so they couldn’t leave unless given permission by the Indian agent of the Indian Act. The RCMP enforced and enforces that racist law to this day.
This country was designed to oppress our people. It was designed to target us, to keep us in line.
We are a sovereign people. We are not a conquered people.
Colonialism tried wiping us out. It may have brought us down, it may have stolen the dreams of generations, but our mothers and fathers prayed for us with their dying breath. They prayed their children and grandchildren would one day heal, live free, rise and thrive over the chains of adversity.
Open your eyes, Canada. The world is watching now, the world is listening, and the world is shifting. Right now. Racism is being ripped from the roots for all to see its ugly truths.
More innocent bloodshed is on the line in this war of race and power. Our people are tired. But our people will not give up.
Governments can make laws to change, courts can pass judgements to condemn or to win, but, something I’ve learned is none of that will matter until it comes from the heart. And the change comes from the people -- not systems.
The essence of racism is systemic. It is before our eyes, are you looking? Do you see the injustice now?
Stop denying. Stop debating and just start doing. Something! Stop killing my people.
Who will you stand with now that the foundations of ignorance are being shaken and can no longer be an excuse?
The hearts of my people may be broken; but our hearts are in-sync for justice.
We have hope like never before because our people are speaking up and standing up.
More than ever our allies awaken to stand for justice and equality.
One thing I’ve learned in life, is to never give up, be brave; be courageous and never lose hope.
We are all in this together.