In This Country

We are Canadian.
We live on stolen land.
How should we celebrate that?
We have lived lies, unknowingly or otherwise, following blindly
in the firm footsteps of our forefathers. By default, we absorbed
their secrets and sins.
We have uprooted families, taken their young, and forced them
onto bleak lands without resources as essential as safe drinking water.
Still, to this day, in this country.
We made gallant attempts to convert our ways into theirs by force
or by fraud, overlooking injustice, upholding our selfish direction.
Human rights denied: no; ignored.
We took what was not ours, without shame, without dignity.
Are we not savages?
Politicizing promises, ignoring treaty rights, we have elected
governments that allowed our First Nations peoples to be treated
merely as inconveniences.
Long shadows of colonialism cast further darkness onto lives
that will never know the daily freedoms only some of us enjoy.
Certainly not hundreds of souls secretly buried without account,
without honour, without names.
Once a rumour; do we now know the truth?
What else can we honestly learn about ourselves?
Who poses the questions? Who will answer?
If religion is this country’s strongest available excuse, will we now
question whether our moral compass has ever known a true North?
How do you celebrate that?

© 2021 j.g. lewis

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