On the heels of Erin O’Toole saying res schools were only for education with a straight face, and in light of current circumstances… I would offer that the work of Reconcilation is public health work.

Healing the fractured relationships between Indigenous people and public institutions, removing systemic barriers, eliminating discrimination in the health care system, these are things that help us trust the people who are supposed to help us. Would you really want to do an important class project with someone who has let you down time and time again? Worst.
For so many centuries the stakes have been so much higher than that and hitting the snooze button on TRC calls to action and so many other inquiries have not positioned us well for the situation we are in. I hope one of the lessons that comes from the pandemic is that this work is so important and it is about more than just “feelings” it is about saving lives and increasing wellness in our communities.

I am pro vaccines but implore you to think about the context of promoting solutions to people who are descended from those who were literally experimented on in government institutions and have a bit of compassion for reluctance. Trusting the government and the healthcare system is a privilege. I’m still going to get one but I’m asking that we have a little bit of empathy for each other.

There was a meme circulating at the beginning of the pandemic about how if you think not being able to leave your property to earn money or gather or find food is a problem you’re pretty close to what life was like for an Indigenous person. The key difference is that restrictions on gatherings of our people were intended to extinguish a way of life where current restrictions are intended to preserve it so that it might happen once more when things are safer. See also the pass system, residential schools, countless laws that hindered the ability of Indigenous people to prosper or have agency in their own lives.

Reconcilation isn’t just about healing relationships, it’s about preserving the ability to heal each other when the situation demands it. May we wash our hands of more than just the virus, but also of systemic barriers to wellness and narratives of erasure that deny the truth of what happened.

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