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[anthem update]Is it time to make the national anthem more inclusive?

2021-07-08

  To the Editor:

  First it was 215 unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Then, a few days ago, another 751 unmarked graves were found at another Indian Residential School. And it doesn’t look like we can stop counting here, said a First Nations chief,

  “All we ask of all you listening is that you stand by us as we heal and we get stronger. And that we must put down our ignorance and accidental racism of not addressing the truth that this country has with indigenous people.”

  Dignified language about about a huge crime that is as much part of Canadian history as are its glorious deeds referred to in one of our country’s two “official” national anthems.

  As an immigrant who became a naturalized citizen some 60 years ago, I have always had some funny feeling about “our home and native land.” Home, yes, of course. But native land, terre des nos aieux, well, I read “As of 2019, there were just under eight million immigrants with permanent residence living in Canada” – roughly 21.5 percent of the total Canadian population. I also learned that India has over the five years ending in 2019 become here the greatest source of new permanent residents. So much for “our native land.”

  And so I wonder: Does it not seem time to update our national anthem(s). And while at it doesn’t seem time to recognize the offspring of those people who lived here well before settlers from Europe came here?

  Might not an honest Canadian anthem be in line with the histories of all peoples whose home is Canada?

  Just wondering.

  Henry K van Eyken,

  Lakefield, Quebec