By Ron Baker
I remember the Centennial Celebrations in 1967. As a youngster, I watched infrastructure boom– this was the 60’s! Optimism was rampant, the economy was on an upswing. Canada was entering a new generation of positive growth.
For fifty years the pendulum has swung back and forth. The economy has been elastic, sometimes expanding and growing, sometimes contracting and shrinking. The old has become worn out and new infrastructure is needed. The eye focused on the future is hopeful but not always enthusiastic.
And then, I turn my eye to the far distant past. To those who were first settlers. To those for whom the “Sixties Scoop” and “residential schools” are a current memory.
I sat with a knowledgeable First Nations analyst a few weeks ago. I asked what distinguished their culture. What priority distinguishes them from the majority culture. A scratch of the head and a bit of pondering brought forth a profound insight.
Native to this culture is the land.
Our first nations proclaim a closeness to the creatures and the creator.
“We are a people of the land. We love the dirt. We love God’s creatures. We do not ravage the land, we accept the sacredness of the creator’s creation.”
In the 1967 Centennial of Canada, we sang, “this land is your land, this land is my land, . . . this land was made for you and me.” This is Canadian Patriotism. A land of acceptance.
This is a place where the ancient past and new settlement should grow together. This is a place where mutual respect should allow us to learn from each other. This is a place where the creator watches over our feeble attempts at harmony, peace and reconciliation.
We don’t always get it right. But we don’t give up!
This land is your land, this land is my land.
Let’s enjoy a celebration of the last 150 years together.