The action or process of settling among and establishing control over the Indigenous peoples of an area.
This has the potential to be a very polarizing topic in the world today. Although in my opinion it does not need to be. I would like to open up about my personal first hand experience with being colonized in “Canada”. I will do my best to speak from a place that does not encourage separateness. Although these acts have been committed quite recently here in Canada, I do not feel that casting guilt will solve anything. Education and accountability would be the first steps towards healing and living in harmony with the land.
I think that at some point in history all people of this earth have been colonized, their culture, languages, and identities have been changed or at times obliterated completely. I would say that the effects of this could be the root cause of the global climate crisis. I think this because my own culture was one that was deeply rooted in our connection with the earth and the territory we still call home.
To become educated we must know that the Indigenous peoples of this country and others have been deeply traumatized. We have had our cultures, languages, and identities severely damaged but not destroyed. It is also important to understand that colonization is not something that happened in the past. It is something that is still occurring today. This is visible in our daily lives, we are not being educated in school of the traditions of the territories that we all reside in. This is unfortunate as you can learn so many foreign languages in our school system.
There are extensive studies showing how beneficial it is for our brains to learn multiple languages, as well as how stimulating cultural diversity is. Not to mention how embracing traditional culture and language would set our country in motion to become more environmentally conscious. Imagine knowing the traditional names of the plants and animals in your area, names that have been used for thousands of years. Imagine being able to walk into the forest and you can identify plants and their traditional uses as medicines or food. That would be incredibly liberating to all of us not just the Indigenous peoples of what is now known as canada.
Our cultures are rich with songs and dances that bring people together in a highly inclusive way, the songs as well as the dances are easy to learn and most people take part. I am lucky enough to have been exposed to many of my traditions. I have also experienced segregation and cultural shaming in the canadian public school system. Which lead me to run from my culture in my youth.
To be Canadian is not to embrace a culture it is the removal of your traditional roots. Most of the people who live here are not from here and have been disconnected from their culture to some extent as well. At the same time I would not be here if colonization did not occur. What I am learning with much help from my mother Kicya7 Dr. Joyce Schneider, is that this disconnection leads us to lose our identity. This is most visible in people who have been deeply wounded by systems of an imposed foreign state. Although It is also visible on each of us, many who came here from another land losing their traditional language, culture and way of life, also lost their connection to the land they live on. Leading us to want to “fit in” to something that we know is not whole deep down.
It is important to learn who we are and where we came from. When we learn we start to see how similar we all are. We can see that we all were at some time or another completely connected to the land. We all had our own stories, songs, dances, and ceremonies. This is what nourishes us — the Land and the cultures that came from it. I have experienced that learning about my own culture and others have lead me to the direct experience of we are all one. If you are living in canada permanently I feel it is important to learn from the peoples and traditions Indigenous to the area in a way that honours those who, for thousands of years, lived in responsible, sustaining and harmonious relationships with the lands we now call home.