Speaking to fellow non-Indigenous people in Canada today, including fellow racialized people and immigrants, because despite our own challenges, whether we like it or not, we all have and continue to benefit from the colonization of Indigenous Peoples' land. /1
I moved to Canada at age 13 to start high school. I made it all the way to medical school before I really heard anything about Indigenous Peoples. I literally did not know they "still" existed on this land. I am ashamed to admit this, but it is also *not* a coincidence. /2
Making Indigenous Peoples at the least invisible, and *ideally* non-existent has always been the goal of the colonial project. This shows up clearly documented again and again in the history of Canada. /3
A quote from Duncan Campbell Scott, who ran the residential school system at its peak, does not mince words. He wanted to do away with "the Indian problem" and makes it clear he does not think Canada should have any responsibility/accountability for its colonial history. /4
There have been a whole host of ways the Indian Act over the years has tried to remove "Indian Status" from people if they obtained higher education, became professionals, married a non-Indigenous person etc. This is also not a coincidence. /5
Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang in "Decolonization is Not a Metaphor", and Robyn Maynard @policingblack in Policing Black Lives, describe that the concept of race has always shifted based on the goals of settler colonialism. /6
While the 'one drop rule' was used in the US to define Black folks so there would be *more* people who could be enslaved for labour, in North America, definitions for Indigenous Peoples have always sought to decrease the numbers over time so the land cannot be claimed back. /7
This history is fundamental for us to understand *WHY* we know so little about Indigenous Peoples and the violence they endure. The state benefits from our ignorance. The conversations today have been forced by the tireless actions of Indigenous Peoples. They are exhausted. /8
SO.. I want to share some of the resources I have found helpful on my learning journey as a non-Indigenous person. This is less about creating *the list* of resources (please go to Indigenous people for that), but rather about conversation and mutual learning. Pls share yours. /9
- @TanyaTalaga's "Seven Fallen Feathers" outlines the stories of seven Indigenous high school students who died in Thunder Bay, painfully illustrating the outcomes of removing children from their homes, families and communities for school, and the racism they face. /10
- Robin Wall Kimmerer's "Braiding Sweetgrass" helped me blow apart the supremacy of Western science demonstrating the power of Indigenous knowledge.
- Jesse Thistle's "From the Ashes" showed the real life impacts of intergenerational trauma, and his incredible resilience. /11
Both 'All Our Relations' by @TanyaTalaga and 'Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Metis and Inuit Issues in Canada' by Chelsea Vowel, helped me break down issues and outlined specific strategies by which Canada has set up structural oppression of Indigenous Peoples./12
For those in healthcare, "Separate Beds: A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada, 1920s-1980s" and "Structures of Indifference" which outlines the case of Brian Sinclair are crucial to understanding how Indigenous people see healthcare, and how we perpetuate violence. /13
These books helped me better understand the impact of structures of violence on Indigenous women and girls and the resistance to it :
- "The Break" by Katherena Vermette (fiction)
- "Highway of Tears" by Jessica McDiarmid (non-fiction) /14
Reports I commit to reading:
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015)
- Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry (2020)
- Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996!)
- Joyce's Principle (by the Council of the Atikamekw of Manawan to the Govt of Canada). /15
- "Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo" by CBC's Connie Walker helped me understand the incredibly painful impact of the Sixties scoop
- "Secret Life of Canada" has just taught me so much, but especially Indigenous history including an episode on the Indian Act. /16
And for a deep structural analysis of Canada tying together many threads, I'd recommend:
- Unsettling Canada, by Art Manuel
- Policing Black Lives, by Robyn Maynard /17
Hoping all of us non-Indigenous people can use #OrangeShirtDay2021 to reflect and most importantly commit, to learning the Truth, and taking the steps necessary towards true Reconciliation. Sending love to Indigenous people, who will no doubt have a difficult day ahead. /18

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More from @RitikaGoelTO

22 Apr
***Doug Ford's announcement is NOT paid sick days!*** Paid sick days come through legislation requiring employers to provide days where a worker can be off sick, and get paid. Ford is "working on" sick pay, which is something you would have to apply for and wait for. #onpoli
Ford is using confusing language to make it sound like he is bringing paid sick days, but this is NOT the actual legislation we need. Please continue to call Doug Ford's office and Conservative MPPs to tell them we need **10 permanent employer-provided paid sick days**. #onpoli
Do not forget - we HAD legislated paid sick days - advocates and communities fought very hard to get legislation passed under @Kathleen_Wynne - and Ford *immediately* repealed them in 2018. He is putting politics before people's lives. #onpoli #covid19
Read 8 tweets
26 Nov 20
Powerful people know that in order to enslave, colonize, criminalize, restrict movement, extract labour, invade - you *must* dehumanize those you seek to oppress - or else it will just be seen as what it is - violence. The most humanity is always granted to those at the top.
This phenomenon is important because it is the way people who have privilege but may not be in positions of power participate in oppression. Convincing the dominant group that others are “below you” because they are less deserving of humanity is key to continued oppression.
History is full of ordinary people who got up in the morning, went to work, loved their children, cared for their families and friends, and also participated in and benefited from oppression of people whose humanity had been denied, so their suffering mattered less.
Read 13 tweets
30 Sep 20
Today, as we drop off our kids worrying about #COVID19, remember that for 100 years, Indigenous parents had their kids taken by force “for their own good” to schools where they were denied their culture, insulted, beaten, not treated when sick and *half* died. #OrangeShirtDay2020
The last residential school closed in 1996. This is not ancient history. Many survivors walk amongst us today. Many families were irreparably harmed and so many children became adults denied a childhood. The immense trauma reverberates to this day. #OrangeShirtDay2020
In case you wonder whether our former governments and bureaucrats had good intentions that went wrong, rather than clearly racist and colonial ones, here are quotes from the Prime Minister and Duncan Campbell Scott the administrator re: residential schools. #OrangeShirtDay2020
Read 5 tweets
22 Sep 20
Almost every new South Asian parent I know has named their child based on how the name will be pronounced in white Western society. I eliminated 1000s of names for this reason. This is what it looks like to have a dominant culture shape your every move. Our children’s very names.
Tip: If you're not sure how to pronounce a name (this happens to me on the regular seeing patients) just say, "I'm sorry. How do you pronounce your name?" - while this may feel uncomfortable, it shows you're willing to prioritize someone else's dignity over your own comfort.
Some have asked why people don't just name their kids whatever they want. This is because we inherently know the power the dominant group holds - one small extensively studied example is how names on identical resumes determine rate of callbacks: utoronto.ca/news/applying-…
Read 4 tweets
25 Jul 20
“Unprofessionalism” has long been wielded in medicine to maintain a toxic culture that signals the “right” way to be as determined by those with the most power. This means policing women’s attire but also creating a culture of silence in political advocacy. #medkini #MedTwitter #
There is a strong current in medicine that is named explicitly in this paper to stay away from “controversial topics”. The problem is that as MDs we hold tremendous power and often also witness how injustice manifests in our society in a very real way. #medkini #MedTwitter
I’m disturbed by the methodology used here and the shaming of people for having personal lives. But I’m particularly terrified of the thought policing. Being a strong leader and advocate means speaking out sometimes against the popular current. #medkini #medtwitter
Read 4 tweets
30 Jun 20
This is a must-read for all who care about equity and #sdoh in Toronto. The hardest hit neighbourhoods by #COVID19 are in the city's northwest, and second to this, in the east. #topoli
These are the same maps we've seen before - where the most poverty is, where the most racialized and particularly Black people are, where the most diabetes is, where the poorest transit access is, and now where the most #COVID19 is. #topoli #sdoh
But what are we in healthcare doing to address this? Previous excellent reporting by @WendyGlauser pointed out that in Toronto, the primary care providers are not where the need is. thelocal.to/why-arent-the-… #sdoh
Read 12 tweets

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