2017 is Canada’s 150th birthday and different forms of celebration are happening in many communities. The biggest party will be on July 1 (Canada Day). But I wonder if every Canadian sees reason to celebrate? Recently at our Ontario Branch Convention, we participated in a blanket exercise. You see, as a Branch, we have been spending time over the past 2 years, learning more about our indigenous people and their treatment at the hands of European colonizers. Our indigenous people include Inuit (far north) First Nations (aboriginal people of the south part of Canada) and our Metis (a unique group with both First Nations and European heritage). Our treatment of these groups is littered with injustice, broken promises, disrespect and injury. Our government has formally apologized and has entered into a time of truth and reconciliation. Reconciliation starts with a close and firm look at the facts and that was the point of the blanket exercise. We took the roles of the indigenous people and watched and learned – it was moving, informative and painful. But there is hope. The KDS has helped many students with their post-secondary school costs. The Ontario Branch established a new scholarship fund and we are raising funds to build it. The Branch also established an Indigenous Concerns Committee to continue the dialogue and learning. We have agreed that our Branch will gather 150+ items of clothing and goods for the remote communities near the Arctic Circle. I thank God for all the good that can come from KDS members working for reconciliation at home and in our communities.

Christine Dawson, International President

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