Our stance on Canada Day 2021
C/O Creeson Agecoutay, CTV News
It's time to recognize what we've done and stop celebrating genocide
cw: indigenous inequalities, genocide, residential schools
The Silhouette encourages both the McMaster University and Hamilton communities not to partake in Canada Day celebrations. Take the time to reflect on not only the recent news about the countless graves found at residential schools across the country, but also the inequalities that Indigenous peoples face each and every day.
"McMaster University stands on land protected by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum agreement. Wampum belts are beads bound onto strings which narrate Haudenosaunee history, tradition and laws. The “Dish With One Spoon” wampum was created to bind the nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy to the Great Law of Peace. The “Dish” represents the shared land, while “One Spoon” reinforces the idea of sharing and peace."
This is the land acknowledgement said at the start of every McMaster function. While this is a start, this is not enough on the path to reconciliation or the path to trust.
There is no pride in genocide and we will not stand by and continue to watch these inequalities surface. While we made a commitment last year to continue our work to uplift BIPOC voices, we have noticed that our articles lack Indigenous voices. The Silhouette is a platform for students to share their voice to other students and the McMaster/Hamilton communities. If we do not represent all students, we are not meeting our mandate nor our goal.
As part of Volume 92, we want to ensure we are providing space for Indigenous students and faculty members to share their input on issues, to share their stance on university affairs, but most importantly, to share their stories. This will not be exclusive to Volume 92 and will be a commitment renewed every year with each Editor-in-Chief, masthead staff member and volunteer contributor. With this commitment, we will also creating our first Indigenous stories special issue this year. This will become an annual celebration of Indigenous stories, a critical lens of Indigenous issues, a place to showcase artwork and most importantly — to shed light on the voices that comprise a large part of our community.
We recognize that not all students reside in the Hamilton area. To find out whose land you currently occupy, go to https://www.whose.land/en/.
We also understand that many conversations currently being had within non-Indigenous communities have the potential to be traumatic. A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for residential school survivors and others affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-441.
The Indigenous Studies Program at McMaster has many resources for Indigenous students including an Indigenous Student Success Advisor, Writing workshops and various Elder talks: https://indigservices.mcmaster.ca/