Second line of O Canada should read “Our home on native land”

Monday, March 5, 2018
Doreen Barrie
Troy Media

he catalogue of injustices experienced by Canada’s Indigenous people is long and tragic: residential schools, missing and murdered women, and high incarceration rates, to name just a few. Reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on residential schools is a gut-wrenching reminder of just one of the catastrophes they have survived.

Against this backdrop, the federal government’s announcement that Indigenous people will play an official role as stewards of the land is welcome.

Perhaps the most serious problem facing Indigenous people is that they’re below the radar of most Canadians. I’m not suggesting that there’s no ongoing concern or outrage when yet another shocking incident dominates the headlines. However, on a daily basis, many other things preoccupy the population.

What’s needed is a frequent prod of the collective memory to ensure Indigenous groups don’t fade into the background until the next disaster strikes. So how can this prod be delivered?

I have a suggestion that might be considered off the wall and merely symbolic, but I’d like to put it out there for discussion: maybe we should change the second line of O Canada to “our home onnative land” instead of “our home and native land.”