Reconciliation requires taking real steps

Re: “Macdonald’s statue removal is classic Macdonald politics,” comment, Sept. 2.

In recent years, I have become more mindful of what it means to take conscious and active steps toward building reconciliation with Indigenous people in one’s own community.

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So, for instance, when I look at the statue of John A. Macdonald, I make an effort to see past the image of a noble Father of Confederation. I imagine what it might be like for someone who passes by it and hears Macdonald’s words echoing in her ears: “I have reason to believe that the [Indian] agents as a whole … are doing all they can, by refusing food until the Indians are on the verge of starvation, to reduce the expense.” I imagine what it might be like for someone who, passing that statue, sees the figure of a prime minister whose government criminalized powwows and potlatches, policies that continued for generations.

Is it not the very least we can do as conscientious human beings to put ourselves in another’s shoes and allow ourselves to feel enough empathy to take some remedial action so that our brothers and sisters are not put in the position of figuratively running a gauntlet every time that they walk down Pandora Avenue or into the front doors of City Hall?

I am proud to have a mayor who doesn’t just speechify with pretty words about the importance of reconciliation, but who understands what it means to take steps toward enacting it in real terms.

Will Weigler

Fernwood

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