Indigenous people explain why they see reasons for hope amid Canada 150 celebrations
Lyndon Linklater says reconciliation is a high priority in Canada
As people on Parliament Hill protest Canada 150 celebrations, other Indigenous people say there are plenty of reasons for hope.
Lyndon Linklater, Shirley Isbister and Tarrant Cross Child say they respect those who oppose Canada Day celebrations. They say Indigenous people have suffered greatly over the past 150 years because of the pass system, residential schools and the Sixties Scoop.
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But they also say things are changing. Reconciliation is a higher priority here than anywhere else on Earth, Linklater said.
"Our country is the best country in the whole world. That's all there is to it. That's what I truly believe. As a Canadian, I have a lot of hope for the future," said Linklater, a member of the Thunderchild Cree Nation, which is 230 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.
"Look at our neighbours to the south: the United States of America. They aren't doing no reconciliation."
Cross Child, a member of the Blood First Nation in Alberta, agreed.
"Sometimes, I'm guilty because I can take for granted quite easily the great country that I live in," Cross Child said.
Cross Child's parents both endured racism and other trauma at residential school.
He said everyone needs to work toward reconciliation and is confident that will happen.
'It is with mixed feelings'
Linklater, a speaker for Saskatchewan's Office of the Treaty Commissioner, will be helping to set up the Canada Day teepee in Diefenbaker Park in Saskatoon on Saturday.
There, Isbister, president of the Central Urban Métis Federation, plans to take her grandchildren, outfitted in red and white Canada hats.
"Indigenous people are not the only ones who have second thoughts about Canada Day. It is with mixed feelings," said Isbister, who attended the unveiling of an Indigenous communication guide for Saskatoon civic workers with Linklater on Thursday.
"[But] with all the hard work that's gone into reconciliation in Saskatoon these past few years, there is a way we can move forward."