Happy Canada Day, to those who celebrate!
Here’s a photo of my daughter and I on her first Canada Day, seven years ago today. My husband was away for the week-end celebrating a soon-to-be groom, so we joined my sister and brother-in-law at the Waterloo Regional Museum (now the Ken Seiling Waterloo Regional Museum) for their free Canada Day admission and celebrations.
We are a family who loves to celebrate – parties, milestones, dressing up and decorating. My daughter is the party-planner in our house and is constantly asking when is the next birthday or holiday. I’m grateful for her desire to share joy and celebrate with others.
But many of these holidays are weird for me now, and create a lot of inner turmoil and tension. My daughter’s own birthday is often still difficult, due to our shared traumatic birth experience and months-long struggle to successfully breastfeed.
Another one of those holidays that is difficult to celebrate is today, Canada Day. In my process of learning to advocate better for myself and my daughter, I’ve learned so much more about how important it is to advocate for others in an intersectional way. I have found myself moved deeply in the realization that I, as a white woman, still have/had much more privilege in my daughter’s difficult birth situation than the majority of other birthing parents in the same situation, birthing at the same hospital. The grief of realizing that, as awful as it was for my daughter and I, we still had it better – we still had more choices, more opportunities, and a higher success rate for healing, and succeeding at breastfeeding than the majority.
So, Canada Day is complicated. I want to celebrate with and for my daughter, with my son and our family. But I also want them to know and understand the white person’s role in the settlement of Canada. That the photo of my daughter and I on her first Canada Day, though beautiful and commemorative, also represents the white privilege of choosing to settle on a land already belonging to the Anishinaabe people. I also want my children to know and understand that I feel great privilege and gratitude for being born in Canada and the rights and freedoms we have experienced. I want them to understand and believe that all people, all families, deserve those same rights and freedoms that we have enjoyed, here in Canada and beyond.
Before I head off to find our books on settlers and regional first people, plaster some Canada Day tattoos on my face at my daughter’s request, and dig out my now well-worn Canada Day t-shirt, I thought I would also share with you how we at La Leche League Canada view our relationship with Canada’s first people. Our recently added policy is as follows:
“13.1 Acknowledgement of Indigenous peoples LLLC acknowledges the obligation to respect and promote the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples and recognizes the historic injustices as a result of colonization and dispossession of the Indigenous people in Canada. Leaders shall acknowledge the Indigenous land on which meetings or events are held. In consultation with Indigenous communities, LLLC shall facilitate the participation of Indigenous families and professionals in all programs and services.”
Wishing you a terrific day, celebrating with your small bubble of family and friends!
~Laura, Waterloo Region Virtual Group