It’s sometimes hard to remember, but just 75 years ago, thousands of Canadian soldiers assaulted Juno Beach, fought like (very polite) grizzlies, and left a trail of dead Nazis and empty Molsons from Normandy up through Belgium, Holland and on into Northern Germany. And many of them did it while dragging around bicycles! Tough guys. Proud, too.
That was then. Today, their grandsons are busy demanding junk-waxings, and their great-grandkids start the school day “not with Canada’s national anthem, but with a reminder of the country’s dark colonial history,” according to Amanda Coletta of The Washington Post.
Actually, it’s more of a confession. At Ontario’s Admiral Collingwood Elementary School:
“Simcoe District School Board acknowledges that we are situated on the traditional land of the Anishnaabeg people,” a voice intones each morning over the school’s intercom system. “We acknowledge the enduring presence of First Nation, Metis and Inuit people on this land, and are committed to moving forward in the spirit of reconciliation and respect.”
It’s what the Canadians call a “land acknowledgement.” Such acknowledgements “are supposed to honor the peoples who lived on the territory before European settlers arrived — and in some cases, still do,” Coletta explains.
So its a daily mantra of lefty self-loathing -- Europeans bad, Indians noble, blah, blah. Good morning children! Everyone line up for your humiliating civic wedgie. It’s exactly the kind of thing you do to make sure you never again produce the kind of citizens who can open a can of maple-flavored whoopass on evil totalitarians.
Adults aren’t spared either. Coletta writes that land acknowledgments “are spoken before NHL games, ballet performances and meetings of Parliament, among other venues.” NHL games! There’s even a “mobile app called Whose Land, which maps out treaties and traditional territories in Canada to improve the accuracy of acknowledgments.” Imagine a handy app for progressives who aren’t sure what to be unhappy about!
See, Canada, even more than America, is wracked with societal guilt for having had the effrontery to flourish. So they elect patrulie-reeking beta males like Justin Trudeau and form Orwellian “Truth and Reconciliation Commissions” to enumerate the nation’s historical crimes (Indian “cultural genocide,” for one) to give Mapleleaf lefties something to self-flagelate over.
But no craven gesture goes unpunished, even in Canada. The acknowledgements “have drawn a backlash,” Coletta writes. “Indigenous people themselves are increasingly expressing concerns about the practice, worrying it has become an empty and perfunctory gesture, a way to feign support for their communities without addressing their concerns or doing the more difficult work of building meaningful relationships with them.”
Coletta found activists and scholars of “idigenous” stuff to complain that “Speakers often rush through land acknowledgments, she said, mispronouncing the names of indigenous groups and repeating factual errors.” One said, “I’m not naive enough to think that it’s a great and wonderful step toward reconciliation.” You live in Canada. Reconcile yourself to it -- everybody else up there has.
“There are also the awkward acknowledgments,” Coletta writes, and if you don’t see the humor in her example you have a heart of stone. “The organizers of the Pride Toronto festival apologized last month after an acknowledgment had one major flaw: It failed to acknowledge anyone:
Take a moment to connect with the land,” the acknowledgment said. “No matter what part of Mother Earth our family originates from, we all have a relationship to the land. Let’s build a healthy relationship together.
Silly, trite and meaningless? You bet. But so is mumbling apologies for incidents that happened hundreds of years ago. One of Coletta’s academics suspects the acknowledgements exist not for Indian benefit, but for Canadian liberals. They’re “something they can do that makes them feel good.”
DING! DING! That’s the correct answer. You win a Molson!