Thanks again for reading my blog. This week, I’m focusing on Truth and Reconciliation Day and what that was like here at the Banting House. For one, I learned a lot about Banting’s relationship with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. He was very supportive of them: in one instance he railed against the Hudson Bay Company and their maltreatment of them based on what he saw in the Arctic in 1927, in an off-the-record interview with a Toronto Star reporter.
I also attended a webinar and talk by Lyle Daniels, who is a First Nation man from Saskatchewan. He spoke about the history between the Indigenous and the Europeans. One piece of his webinar that was deeply impressionable to me was when he spoke about how the cultures are very different from one another: and how the collides in culture led to the eventual near-erasure of Indigenous life here in Canada-namely the residential school system. I was deeply moved by what he was saying. I found it extraordinarily helpful in understanding basics of how Indigenous cultures think, why their struggles are so unique and why their genocide is so important for us to learn about. His most profound piece was when he spoke about being an ally. He said, “being an ally means standing up for someone when they are not in the room.” This means we have a societal obligation to give strength and empowerment to those who might not always have a voice.
People often talk about the phrase “worlds apart”. History changes that phrase for us in a way. Considering the fact that Banting himself was alive 101 years ago means that these problems/issues are not too far removed from us, both in time and distance. People we know and look up to are/were involved in these causes.
We too can be involved in noble causes so that 101 years from now, people will look back and say, “That wasn’t too long ago” The question is: where will you stand in these defining moments of history?
Credits: Glenbow Archives, Calgary, Alberta, NB-16-125, Photographer: WJ Oliver, Calgary