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Letter: Olds council should consider Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action

Some may think tearing down statues is not the best way to protest, however please look instead at what they protest

Re: Olds councillors concerned with statue removals

We were disheartened to read about Olds town council’s plan to spend time laying the groundwork to address “all this silliness” at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) in November. There’s nothing silly about it. Is that really the best we can do?

Imagine how it feels for those faced with memorials and statue tributes made to men that exerted cruel power and control over their ancestors, communities and families. 

Some of us are only now learning about what was done by men like Sir John A. Macdonald and others who used strategies to dupe, control and then attempt to destroy Indigenous tradition and culture. 

Many documents exist describing their intentions and absolute disregard for human decency.

In a court of law, people are instructed to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Until recently, most of us have only been fed history that supported the vision held by our founding fathers and their cronies, in political parties, religious orders and at boardroom tables. 

While those founding fathers may have had their supporters, it’s obvious that we didn’t know the whole story. Thankfully we now can access resources that help us see the broader picture.

Courts are also compelled to uphold the agreements made between People(s) as they are written in signed legal documents. There are a multitude of legal documents and agreement, treaties included, that our past and present leaders have refused to honour. A current example is of the unwillingness to uphold commitments for the provision of clean drinking water. 

Incidentally, it's Indigenous money the government holds that will be spent on those long overdue water systems, not taxpayer dollars. 

Those who decided to refrain from celebrating Canada Day this year are perceived by some on council to be disrespectful because “Canada is a very prosperous country and we accept all different nationalities here." That statement implies that we believe we have done something wonderful by opening our doors, when all of us who are not Indigenous are actually either immigrants or their descendants. 

Indigenous peoples offered us a shared existence on the land and in response they were betrayed. Our leaders perceived their existence interfered on the road to Confederation. 

While most countries in the world were founded in exploitation, thievery, murder and genocide, many in our society have decided that we want to be better than that - be humane - prepared to hear the truth about our history, recognize the pain and suffering that has been caused, and work toward alleviating it. 

Some may think tearing down statues is not the best way to protest, however please look instead at what they protest.

We would much rather see town council examine the new AUMA Municipal Guide on the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and make decisions about moving forward as a community, becoming part of the solution, providing us with leadership we can be proud of. 

Debbie and Brent Collins,