Thursday, October 25, 2018

Young Inuk stands sitting down!

“Iqaluit student sits during national anthem to make statement about residential school curriculum.”
So read the headline published and posted on-line on the CBC News website, Oct 22, 2018. See link below.
As you know, languages including English evolve to the point when catch phrases become the norm, i.e. groovy, awesome, what’s up, cool, etc. Seems, lately though the norm catch phrase is, “Hey, what’s goin’ on”… used nonchalantly especially when one meets an acquaintance or a close-friend. I know I use it all the time.
In the context of this story though, seems young 12 year-old Inuk kid, Miles Brewster of Iqaluit, NU, is seriously asking his teacher, “Hey, what’s goin’ on?”

As most Canadians should now know, post awareness of the former PM Stephen Harper’s apology in 2008, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHF), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), and the current Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) process, Residential Schools left a lasting legacy previously unchecked but now mandated and “should be” main-stream where students are learning about the history of Residential Schools within the schools’ curricula.  I guess young Inuk Miles’ didn’t think so and spurred on action and, “sat down to make a statement” during the national anthem.  Apparently, his teacher was not sharing the purpose of Orange Shirt Day; a day to remember those who attended Residential School.

For those who did attend Residential School, like me, we never did have the confidence to stand up to our teachers and make the same statement, “hey, what’s goin’ on,”… instead just obeyed and stood at attention to God Save the Queen and O’ Canada. Back then, we weren’t making history but just ended up being part of history. And, as young Inuk Miles has said correctly, “They (we) had to go to Residential School.” Therein lies the truth…”we had to.” No questions asked.
Times have changed and young Inuk Miles just wants to, I guess, understand that part of his history when, what, why, and how were, “his mother and step-father’s (past) experiences in Residential Schools” and a time when they “had to.” No questions asked.
But, young Inuk Miles, in his own way, stood up for his mother and step-father and all of us Survivors as “he sat down to make a statement.”
And, like back in Residential School when one was seen as disobedient, young Inuk Miles “was sent to the office…as one trying to be a troublemaker.” No questions asked.
Throughout my years, I’ve learned to be uncommon and it’s ok to go against the grain to be successful and, I think, the sooner one learns that, the better. It’s great to see young Inuk Miles be so uncommon already.
Apparently though, his Principal wants no part of his question, “Hey, what’s goin’ on?” Keep standing up for us Inuk Miles…just do it sitting down.