-by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

Sometimes the calendar says it is the date to celebrate – Christmas, a birthday or anniversary. But someone in the family who should be there is in the hospital, and others who would be at dinner are sitting by their bedside. Or someone has lost a baby, a spouse or a job.

So the date does not go unrecognized, uncelebrated. The children still help blow out the candles; Santa Claus still comes. But there is a difference in the tone of the event. A respect; a deference to those in the family who are in pain.

There is no question that our Indigenous neighbours are hurting.

Regardless of whose numbers you use, too many Indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered and too many of those cases have never been solved. Too many Indigenous people can't brush their teeth or bathe their babies in the water from their own taps. Too many Indigenous children have been separated from their communities.

Too many young Indigenous people are in so much pain they cannot bear to go on living.

For them, and for their communities, this is no landmark year and there is nothing to celebrate.

How do we celebrate when part of the family cannot? With respect. Respect for their reality – their pain, their loss, their anger – and their right to it. With awareness of our own response to them, and a resolution to be more present with them in the year ahead.

The date on the calendar has arrived. Let this be the last without every one in Canada at the feast table.





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