Drs. Anderson and Hayday on Who, Exactly, Will Celebrate Canada 150
Perspectives on Canada 150: Do We All Have Reason to Celebrate?
What if the country threw a party, but not everyone saw a reason to celebrate?
This year will bring numerous official events to mark the sesquicentennial of Confederation in Canada.
University of Guelph professor Kim Anderson says many Canadians have reason to throw themselves a 150th birthday party in 2017— even if only to celebrate the perennial anti-fact of not being American, particularly in the new Trump era.
But they also need to acknowledge ongoing injustices involving the country’s indigenous people, says Anderson, who discussed her Cree-Métis roots in the book A Recognition of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood, published in 2000.
For indigenous people enduring anything from inadequate clean drinking water on reserves to substandard education for aboriginal youth, she says, “This is part of the legacy of Canadian nation-building, and I don’t think you’ll find indigenous people who say there’s much to celebrate about that.”
Across campus, history professor Matthew Hayday will be parsing this year’s commemorative events for their symbolism. And he’ll be watching how Ottawa attempts to balance calls for greater inclusiveness with scrutiny by old-stock Canadians sensitive to any perceived slighting of their own heritage.