The AMC Disappointed in Mayoral Candidate’s Position on Canada Day
October 5, 2022
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) issues the following response to Winnipeg Mayoral Candidate Jenny Motkaluk, who continues to reject the cancellation of Canada Day celebrations across the city.
At an event held at the Forks yesterday for Motakaluk’s campaign for mayor, she expressed her disappointment with the Forks Board of Directors for opting out of hosting Canada Day celebrations upon the discovery of thousands of unmarked graves of First Nations children at Residential School sites across the nation.
As part of her election campaign, Motkaluk promised that if elected, she would restore Canada Day celebrations and that she would then remove the city-appointed Forks board members. Motkaluk further expressed that if Winnipeg ceased hosting such celebrations in the future, then “The Canada that we know and love would cease to exist.”
In May of last year, the initial discovery of 215 unmarked children’s graves was found at Kamloops Indian Residential School on Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory impacted Canadians across the nation. Many felt it highly inappropriate to celebrate a colonial holiday upon discovering First Nations children’s graves who died due to the colonialism that Canada Day represents. Canadians across the country wore orange and honoured reconciliation and a “New Day” instead of Canada Day on July 1st.
“The Canada that Jenny Motkaluk is celebrating was built off the suffering First Nations and should have never existed in the first place. It is time to move forward in reconciliation and create new traditions to honour what this nation was meant to be. Canada is home for all of us, First Nations peoples and settlers alike. As a nation, we need to come together and agree that celebrating colonization and genocide is no longer part of the agenda. Reconciliation is the direction all politicians should walk towards, not away from,” said Deputy Grand Chief Cornell McLean.
Jenny Motkaluk further voiced her rejection of the collective guilt for “our imperfect past”. First Nation Family Advocate Cora Morgan said in response, “This is not about guilt – guilt centres the perpetrator, and not the children who were victims of Canada’s violence who never came home. Our focus must always remain on the children and families impacted and the ways we can support those who continue to face the impacts of intergenerational trauma from the residential school system.”
“The AMC wishes to extend its gratitude to The Forks for standing alongside First Nations to mourn our lost generations of children to Canada’s colonial violence. Recognition of these harms has been long overdue – instead of pining for the days when we swept this knowledge and these pains under the rug, it is time to move forward in a good way, creating new traditions that honour the First peoples,” said Deputy Grand Chief Cornell McLean. “Celebrating a “New Day” was an opportunity to remind Winnipeggers and all Canadians that Canada was built on the oppression and continued violence perpetrated against First Nations peoples. There is nothing negative about bringing the truth to light – and if certain individuals wish to ignore that fact and remain stuck in the past – we will move forward without them and welcome those who wish to walk forward in truth with us.”