This settler-colonial reconciliation branded by the government is artificially sweetened with handshake photo-ops and small pockets of money buying out silence on real issues.
The fad and conversation of reconciliation that our people are playing a role in is immobilizing “leadership” and converting indigenous peoples into colonially operated marionettes.
This type of reconciliation is a distraction.
Instead of being idle no more, we are “reconciling some more” with present day Indian act agents whose hands are choking out our voices for land, water, and our children’s minds.
This type of reconciliation is for the ones who want to be “friends” with the Indians for land commodification reasoning, for the ones who whisper the words “im sorry” as they watched the priests and nuns rape our children, for the ones who shut their eyes and turned away when genocide was bleeding into their forts, for the ones who defy Treaty daily- without remorse, and it’s for the ones who beat you, apologize, and beat your daughter and their daughters in the coming years.
This type of reconciliation is for the professors at universities who are pro-Trudeau and believe “decolonizing” universities looks like mandatory Indigenous studies classes yet those very same professors still belittle, marginalize, and see themselves better than, smarter than, and superior to every indigenous student in their classes, shaming them for their brown skin and indigenous minds.
This type of reconciliation is for the professionals in work-spaces who want to aid in repairing the settler-Indigenous relationship in their work places but when an Indigenous women brings her children into that space because her sitter didn’t show up that morning, the mother will be told that her children need to leave because they’re laughter doesn’t line up with colonial workplace standards.
This type of reconciliation helps elderly white woman carry their groceries to their vehicle, but later follows a single indigenous woman with 3 children in the store, aisle after aisle, under the suspicion that she will shoplift.
This type of reconciliation will have dollars for moccasin making and small “cultural” events, but those accounts will be “out of money” the moment those events begin to engage in conversations and action around indigenous liberation, sovereignty, and nationhood.
This type of reconciliation sponsors powwows through companies like Potash and Shell, hoping the 1000 first place special will buy out a few hundred acres of indigenous land more easily.
This type of reconciliation claims residential schools are over but maintains a superior and oppressive power dynamic between settler adults and indigenous children at its own convenience.
This type of reconciliation declares “no foul play” to the bodies of young indigenous youth found in the riverbanks in this country’s most racist cities but later claims they celebrate the lives of indigenous peoples.
This type of reconciliation organizes a national inquiry for missing and murdered indigenous women but neglects to do any actual work by configuring the timeframe to benefit the colonizer and showing that bringing justice to murdered indigenous women is something that can go on summer vacation.
This type of reconciliation invents a “new nation to nation relationship” and teaches our people that the only way we can access our treaty rights is if we have a status card, completely negating from the truth that we, as indigenous peoples, do not need a new “nation to nation relationship,” as ours is with the crown “as long as the sun shines, grass grows, and water flows,” and those status cards have nothing to do with our treaty rights.
This type of reconciliation was born by the colonizer’s TRC and will die on the very same shelves as those documents in the halls and walls of colonial buildings. For their benefit.
This type of reconciliation claims they are not racist but makes degrading comments about the braids on your sons and the skin of your daughters in public spaces.
This type of reconciliation will say it wants to bring justice to our women but is raping the very land our mothers were birthed on for generations.
This type of reconciliation will say there are no funds for following through with Jordan’s principle, none for the lack of clean drinking water in communities, zero for decreasing the price of food in northern communities, and nothing for the mouldy housing and schools that indigenous children must learn in everyday, but will spend half a billion dollars on Canada 150 – a birthday party founded and based upon genocide.
This type of reconciliation claims to “love” indigenous peoples but expects your indigenous child to sing “oh Canada” in their classroom every morning, standing up.
This type of reconciliation is “making space” for indigenous peoples in writing and editorials but later compiles money together to create an appropriation prize.
This type of reconciliation is “putting an end” to indigenous young people killing themselves but only provides enough money for communities to bring in guest speakers and concerts rather than full time therapists equipped with all the tools needed to aid young people in full-blown crisis.
This type of reconciliation “seeks” to decrease the numbers of indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system but will place a young indigenous male in solitary confinement for 4 years for no real reason other than being an Indian in “Canada.”
This type of reconciliation wants to build better relationships with indigenous peoples but is building better ways to commit treason, genocide, colonization, and prejudice with nice hair and a smile of lies.
This reconciliation is for the colonizers.
This is a time of pseudo-reconciliation for continued colonization.
This reconciliation is colonization, disguised with dollar signs and white-skinned handshakes.
This reconciliation is not our reconciliation.
The only reconciliation that exists for us, as Indigenous nations, is the reconciliation we need to find within ourselves and our communities, for agreeing and complying to this madness for so long.
The only reconciliation that exists for us, is the reconciliation needed to forgive our families, our loved ones, for acting like the colonizer.
The only reconciliation we need. Is a reconciliation that doesn’t involve white skinned handshakes and five dollar handouts for our lands.
The only reconciliation we need is indigenous reconciliation. Free of money. Handshakes. Photo-ops. Inquiries with summer vacations. The continued rape of our women, our girls, our lands, and our babies. Highway of tears and roadways of fears. The continued murder of our women, our girls, our lands, and our babies. Free of shaming our boys out for being indigenous boys with indigenous hair. Free of shaming our girls for being indigenous girls with indigenous skin. Free of support for the colonizer’s version of indigenous “culture,” yet no support money for liberation. Free of supremacy. Trickery. Fake it til you make it syndrome. Indian agents. Sir John A Macdonald governments disguised as Trudeau. Colonial chiefs. Free of the continued manipulation, colonization, degradation, and humiliation of Indigenous people. Free of colonially written documents claiming to “save” us, viewing us always, as victims. Free of the lyrics of Oh Canada for breakfast for our children.
Instead of us living in times of reconciliation, we are living in times of recolonization.
And it will only happen if we allow it.
This reconciliation is for the colonizer. And we need to leave this conversation.
We need to reconcile with ourselves. With our families. With our nations.
For our babies.
Because I want our children to to learn about our own liberation, rather than the colonizer’s reconciliation.
And I want our children to know that
Indigenous liberation will always overthrow colonial reconciliation.
Because having our homelands is more important to me than a photo-op and handshake with government officials named Trudeau.
Artwork by: Votan Henriquez