Canada Day, July 1, 1867, marked a significant change for Canada, as the Dominion of Canada was officially established. However, for the First Nations, Inuit, Métis and other indigenous nations in Canada, this day represented a continuation of the displacement and oppression they had experienced for decades.
At the time, the political climate was one of tension between the Canadian government and indigenous tribes. The government was pushing for expansion and settlement, often at the expense of indigenous peoples' land and resources. The economic situation was similarly difficult for indigenous communities, as their traditional ways of life were being disrupted by colonialism and industrialization. Socially, indigenous peoples faced discrimination and marginalization from non-Indigenous Canadians.
On this day, Indigenous communities across Canada were grappling with the implications of the new Dominion's establishment. Many saw it as a further threat to their sovereignty and way of life. The Metis, in particular, were concerned about their land rights and cultural autonomy.
Despite this tension, there were some celebrations of Canada Day in Indigenous communities. Some First Nations held ceremonies to mark the occasion and reaffirm their relationship with the land. However, these celebrations were often tempered by a sense of loss and uncertainty about the future.
In response to the changes brought by the establishment of the Dominion of Canada, many Indigenous communities began to organize and resist. The Métis, for example, would go on to lead the Red River Resistance, which was an attempt to maintain their autonomy and resist Canadian encroachment on their land and resources. Similarly, First Nations across Canada would continue to fight for their rights and sovereignty, through activism, legal challenges, and other means.
While Canada Day is a significant moment in Canadian history, it was also a time of great upheaval and uncertainty for Indigenous peoples. The establishment of the Dominion of Canada represented a continued threat to our lands, cultures, and way of life. However, it also marked the beginning of a new era of resistance and activism, as Indigenous communities across Canada fought to maintain their autonomy and sovereignty in the face of colonialism and oppression and still fight today on this Canada Day 2023.