Its been just over two months since I last saw my grandparents, and approximately six-ish since I last saw my Ontario relatives. Its been longer for my aunts, uncles and cousins out west, but nowhere close to the 50 years that some Inuit families have endured.
As I’ve posted before, in the 1950s, Inuit people living in Northern Quebec were relocated to the communities that are now Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord under questionable pretexts – there were more than a few promises made that went unkept.
This month, 20 people travelled to Resolute Bay and 11 visited Grise Fiord to visit family members who were relocated years ago, and see for the first time where they have been living. One of the elders who travelled brought recent photos of other family members who couldn’t make it.
Its impossible to undo harms that were done in the past. Dwelling on them isn’t the answer either. Stories such as these though, should serve as a reminder that Canada has its moments as a not so nice place to live, especially for some groups of people, but also to think about what people say fifty years from now about some of the decisions that are being made – in policy, business, governance, research, and many other avenues.
The future is harsh judge – one that should be heeded. If no other reason inspires action or justice, let it be what the history books of the future will say.
Bono has said a few things to this effect too, and given as I like to give credit where credit is due, here are two quotes – both originally quipped in the context of Africa, but true in many circumstances nonetheless:
“History, like God, is watching what we do.”
“The attention of the world might sometimes be elsewhere, but history is watching. It’s taking notes. And it’s going to hold us to account, each of us.”
Judging poor and injust decisions of the past (which I often do, althuogh I try to do my research first), alone is not very effective. It doesn’t change the course of history. Its kind of like people who jump on the bandwagon and support the winning team in the Stanley Cup playoffs or World Cup. Everyone else is doing it too.
But what everyone else is not doing is getting involved as an advocate, volunteer, donor, politician or business in preventing poor deicisions from being made now – and in trying to gather support to change the existing injustices.
Don’t wait for the future to judge. There are things we can do today…so let’s do them.