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My Thoughts on the JAM Statue

by Annelise Noronha,

To whom it may concern

I am a person of colour and an immigrant in this great country of ours. Because of such, my feelings are often contradictory with regards to colonialism in Canada. Without said colonizing of Canada, my family would not have come here...india to east africa to England and finally to Canada. Without the blanket of the commonwealth and an allegiance to the Queen, I would not enjoy the freedoms Canada has to offer. On the other hand, despite having the same freedoms and rights as most Canadians, my colour leaves me a victim of racism on occasion, and often feeling marginalized when expressing my feelings on the subject.

The history I learned in school here in Canada did not include the deep racism and the outright stealing of land. It did not include the mental and physical rape of Indigenous children in residential schools. It did not include the segregation of black people throughout Canada. And it certainly did not include the darker qualities of John A. MacDonald.

As I have learned these things in the last few years, I feel a deep shame that the life I can enjoy here, even as a minority, exists because of atrocities committed to our First Nations people. When I walk by that statue on main street, John A.'s smug face gives me a knot in my stomach. A knot of shame. A knot of empathy for the actual people whose life paths have been permanently altered. Whose families have been erased from history.

This statue belongs in a museum. John A. is a large part of our history and the freedoms that most Canadians enjoy. And should be commemorated in a building that is meant to hold the past. Not in a public place. A public place should be a reflection of our present day society. And now that we have learned the truth about MacDonald, ours should be not to continue to torment the indigenous, nor create a feeling of shame inside many others of us. Ours should be of reconciliation, inclusion, justice and equity.

Best,Annelise Noronha

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