Out in the Open

Government's reconciliation efforts still feel like a 'one-sided conversation,' says #Resistance150 organizer

Tanya Kappo says the resistance movement she and other Indigenous activists helped create ahead of Canada 150 wasn’t about ruining anyone’s party.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaves a teepee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, June 30, 2017. ( THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Tanya Kappo didn't feel much like celebrating Canada Day this year. 

"I don't begrudge you for celebrating what you've been able to accomplish and achieve here," she said of Canadians who were looking to mark 150 years since Confederation. "But these are our homelands, and we don't have the same opportunity."

Tanya and other Indigenous activists were behind the #Resistance150 social media campaign that led up to Canada Day. She was previously an early organizer of the Idle No More movement.

To her, #Resistance150 wasn't about raining on anyone's parade. It was just about giving Indigenous people something to celebrate, too. 

"Despite everything that happened to us and is happening to us, we're still here."

And she felt that Canadians were listening. She felt "a lot of optimism" when people expressed their complicated feelings about Canada's 150th birthday, knowing what those years have meant for Indigenous people. 

But Tanya is not confident that the federal government is prepared to have an authentic and equal conversation about reconciliation with Indigenous people, despite the Liberals' rhetoric in favour of it during and since Canada 150.

"Until I feel like that, I'll always feel like this is a one-sided conversation to make you feel like you're achieving something in terms of a political agenda," she says.