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Bunchberry plants

- by David Beisel

My list of 10 ways for any "Canadian" to #unsettle150:

1. Support indigenous artists, businesses, and craftspeople in your area! Remember that for many marginalized business owners that micro-oppressions exist in small business law, taxation, location, transit and beyond.

2. Volunteer at a local care facility. Despite patriotism surrounding our "free" healthcare and quality of life, there are facilities and sick/disabled/elderly persons across the country who could truly benefit from your kindness.

3. Support youth and the new generation of innovators and artists. So many young voices are creating work about multiculturalism, assimilation, transnational identity, and indigenous reconciliation. Go check out what they have to say in their work, and take their voices seriously!

4. Make your list for the next 150 years of Canada. Only when we acknowledge our shortcomings, errors, and outright mistakes, are we able to combat them head on. Acknowledge how we can be better: as a country, and as individuals, and set goals for both!

5. Attend a civic/provincial/federal meeting or event. Engage with your local politicians, and be a visible part of your local politics. Discover for yourself how our current system is and isn't working. Seeing our processes for yourself is the best way to understand how privilege and prejudice are a part of our political systems.

6. Clean up your community, and pick up litter. Indigenous folks protected and are preserving this land, and the amount of trash that colonizers have spread across Canada is an insult and an embarrassment. Get over the "ew" factor and help reconcile our pollution problem head on.

7. Explore your own heritage. Start talking with your parents and grandparents about their immigration, learn about the local indigenous history, and understand how you fit into the colonization of Canada. This land is much older than 150 years!

8. Consider transit alternatives to driving: biking, public transit, walking, anything that will help to protect our planet and waterways, and discourage the oil and gas industry from including you in statistics that prove we "need" pipelines.

9. Plant something native to your region in your garden instead of something exotic. Ornamental plants and invasive animal species are slowly taking over Canadian ecosystems, while local species, including our honey bees, struggle to find adequate food and habitat in colonized areas. Local plants and flowers so helpful!

10. Learn your local land acknowledgement. Learn it! Who's land are you living on? Acknowledging that truth of our colonial history and the ongoing part of settled communities on indigenous oppression is the first step for all of us.

We can ALL be a part of the small building blocks that will shape this country over the next 150 years.

 

(the picture is Cornus canadensis, or bunchberry)

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