New Leaders in a Very Old Town

Tonight, we have a new mayor in Edmonton. And i’m so happy, not least because he has thrice made reference to Indigenous roots.

He had himself introduced by a volunteer from Treaty 6.

He said, as if we all have long known and accepted this, “Edmonton is a very old place.”

And he named honouring Indigenous perspectives as a priority of his tenure.

And i feel the spirits of many relatives somehow lighter this moment. My late father, Stan Sewell Sr; my late sister, Cathy Sewell; and so many grandmothers, grandfathers, cousins; so many indigenous people who worked so hard, all their lives, to make things better for all Canadians. And all those still working, with what dignity and grace we can find, holding the line against the people who so easily and eagerly spout hatred for “our kind.”

I remember – and i am not much older than Mr. Iveson – many times when being Indigenous has been hard, has meant being a target for hatred, jealousy, judgement and exclusion. I remember my late brother, aged 10, being browbeaten by his Euro-Canadian teacher, who refused to accept my brother’s identity; that teacher’s enmity solidified when my brother beat him at chess. I remember many stories, so many warped and vicious actions … so many hard days for all my relatives. These days are all the sweeter for that.

May the sweetness continue to grow. May we continue, as a community and a nation, to heal the Amnesia and denial that plague our history, and reach out to each other, to build something truly magnificent together.

Why not dream of this?

All My Relations


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