Looking Back and Moving Forward
It is important to know where you come from.
Many young people have lost sight of their culture. They pride themselves on their Canadian or American roots, but do not know anything about where their families came from; their personal histories are all but lost in the never-changing generational yearning to blend in.
The true Canadians and Americans are those who have been driven off their land, subjected to the physical and psychological tortures of residential schools, and suffer from debilitating drug and alcohol addiction, courtesy of our ancestors. Many Canadians or Americans living in North America today hail from other countries where their ancestors were viewed in much the same light as the Indigenous peoples of North America – a culture less intelligent, less refined; a people to be manipulated for what is deemed to be the greater good.
Struggles Past & Present
Our grandparents and great grandparents were persecuted for their religious beliefs, made to suffer under the rule of harsh and unforgiving governments who believed they had a duty to ‘save’ or eradicate certain cultures and belief systems. These were the people who emigrated to North America chasing a new beginning, a fresh start, looking for acceptance and the “American Dream.” What they found however, was not what they envisioned. They struggled to find employment, were bullied and taken advantage of, their children beaten, locked in closets by their teachers if they spoke a language other than English. They were not treated much differently in their new country than they had been treated in their old one.
Yet here we stand, perpetuating this cycle of cultural abuse that has occurred in every country around the globe for thousands of years. There is always a culture who feels they are more intelligent, a religion that believes themselves to be worshiping the One True God. Many North Americans have an opportunity to make a change, to put an end to the cycle of cultural abuse felt and perpetrated by our ancestors. We are growing up in two countries that hold a collectively diverse cultural history. We are unique in the respect that we have the ability to know ourselves in a way that cannot be felt anywhere else. We are Canadian and American, but we are also Polish, Argentinian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, the list goes on. We have an ability to know our own personal histories as North Americans but also our separate cultural histories, the histories of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents.
The children of today & the pursuit of multiculturalism
Unlike those who have only ever grown up as a single cultural entity, we are each our own cultural mosaic. It is through knowing our families and ourselves that we can deliver an all-encompassing understanding of what it means to be different and yet the same. In every city, in every town, in every village, in every country around the world, it is always believed that our children will be the generation to finally take a stand and change the world. The young people of North America are finally in a position to make that come true. We have the power to stop this cycle of cultural abuse. We have the capacity to truly understand what it means to be multicultural, and, if utilized properly, we can ensure that what happened to the Indigenous people of North America and to the millions of immigrants who came to Canada and United States seeking asylum will never be repeated. We can begin a cultural revolution that has the power to impact people positively not only across North America, but also the rest of the world.
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