A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend, daughter and I went out. We didn’t go Christmas shopping or to a party, we went to listen to an audio documentary produced by our mutual friend, Lauren Crazybull. The audio documentary’s subject wasn’t something to take light; it’s focus was the silenced voices of missing and murdered aboriginal women. A very important issue happening to Aboriginal women across the nation.
Missing and murdered aboriginal women has become a very serious issue. The number of women gone missing and murdered has almost tripled since 2009, going from 500 to 1200. That shit is insane. Yet, the media has made lukewarm attempts to bring light to the issue and no one is sharing the fuck of the missing women reports. Why?
To understand the why, we need to point towards the past and take in a mini art-history lesson. To best exemplify with the limited words I have, I need to talk about the group of seven (trust me, it makes a full circle to the topic at hand). This country is a colonized country, fact. With colonization there comes horrific acts/policies/opinions on any people already inhabiting said colonized country, gross, but fact. This mean that fucking horrible shit was and continues to be done to aboriginal people. A heartbreaking fact. In order to make colonization happen it needs to be have certain acts painted over. Enter stage right, the skilled advertiser disguised as a painter.
The group of seven and that Tom guy, were a group of men put together by people in power at the National Art Gallery and the State (Canada, a domain of Great Britan…still). The myth that these white men where rebels is complete bullshit. They were pawns in the game of bringing more white men and women to the “virgin” lands of Canada. Further more they were tasked with the job of helping create a national identity that still holds strong today, are we not the people that holds our land close and dear?
So in 1920 (ten years before residential schools would reach their peak of 80 schools across Canada), the group of men started painting in the British (but yet modern/new!) style of landscape. There depiction of Canada was important because no one is in the fucking land. You can say that the group of seven’s work is pretty much a giant FOR SALE ad for any British/Europeans looking at the paintings that made their way across the sea. Secondly, while they are advertising to elite British and European, they are also telling the elite white men and female living in Canada, look at the beautiful land you have. It’s empty, ready for you to reap from it. Meanwhile, the Canadian Government was creating reserves and kidnapping aboriginal children to put in residential schools to violently and sexually abuse them.
What. The. Fuck.
Why does every prominent art gallery still just focus on the group of seven? Because they live in a world of myth and denial. Coming to terms with this truth would be accepting the art world’s active role in trying to eradicate aboriginal culture. So please next time you see a copy or even a painting by the group of seven, think of all the missing people.
Today, less than a hundred years from the violations the group of seven and the Canadian Government sowed, our nation is still facing the same horrific acts against aboriginal people. We are still ignoring their voices. The government of Canada, Stephen Harper, issued a bullshit apology to the children of residential schools but has continued to ignore acts full of hatred towards aboriginal people. There hasn't been any government issues campaigns to reduce the amount of murdered and missing aboriginal women. RCMP have to be begged to bring justice to these women. Our very own citizens would rather put hazardous green ballons in the air than share a missing report of an aboriginal woman or man.
So this is my stance, my call to start caring and start demanding justice. This is our chance to stop racism, sexism and hate. The first step is to join those of us who are sick of this history and present day of hate by writing a letter to the Prime Minister:
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
You can even e-mail him: http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/contactpm
I also invite you to listen to the audio documentary. It can be listened to here: http://truecontactvoices.com, in full.
Then you spread the word. And you make sure you let people know how disgusted and pissed off you are to live in a country that continue to perpetuate hatred. It needs to stop.
I leave you with a tedx talk by Beverley Jacobs.