Anniversary: Oka Crisis

July 11th 1990 Canada invaded Kanien’kehá:ka land to force a golf course expansion.

This singular event, which lasted 77 days, broke through my understanding of Canada, and also brought the voice of Kanien’kehá:ka and other Anishnaabeg to my attention. Until then, I’d lived in suburbia, where I lived with people from all over the world, but not a single person whose land we were on.

Oka changed that.

I sought out accounts from Kanien’kehá:ka, and learned from Anishnaabeg, Mi’kmaq, Inuit,Métis, Dene, and many other teachers. The more I learned regarding colonization, the more horrified. Since then, I’ve been reframing everything (and am constantly reminded how that’s an intense, ongoing process full of mistakes, challenging discussions, and mutual respect). In no small part, this blog is just a collection of what I’ve come up with as a result.

A big part of my addressing the problems is to seek out what we’re overlooking.

The thing I’ve found is the calendar – the one we use, the one which is the international standard – follows a very irregular rhythm. We’re so used to it that we don’t realize what we’re missing. If we change it to a regular beat, then we can all follow the rhythm of our lives, our schedules, to the same beat. If we all dance our individual dance (aka lifestyle) to the same rhythm, then we’ll better communicate, better anticipate, better relate.

In no small part, the role of the calendar is to schedule holy days (however one defines those). More than anything, it is something that is important to remember every year, whether in mourning, acknowledgement, and celebration. It almost seems that something like this deserves a monthly day of acknowledgment and a big push on the anniversary, to somehow finally relate to one another as interdependent. We’re all in this together. It’s time for all of us to act like it now.



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