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The Ruttle Report - To celebrate or not celebrate July 1st events

Lots of talk these days about cancelling Canada Day, and here's why I believe we shouldn't
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It's the last few days of June, which means that in the national media world, you're going to see headlines surrounding Canada Day celebrations.

Many of these headlines will not necessarily be about what's on the itineraries or event schedules in communities across the country. Instead, they will be centered on the question of whether or not these events should be held at all due to Canada's past treatment of Indigenous children and the discoveries made last year of so many mass graves.

Here's one story, for example.

The website known as posted an article on Monday morning that said the Centennial Park located in Etobicoke, Ontario will not be having fireworks on Canada Day. Now, let me first clarify that that's all that the article said. There was no explanation provided for the cancelled pyrotechnics. However, in true 'millennial media' fashion, the writer of the article simply lifted statements made on social media with feelings on the cancellation, including the highlighting of one comment made that such a decision "was timely, considering the discovery of many unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schools across the country," and that having such an event "in the wake of all these Indigenous children a celebration seems in poor taste."

I've been doing what I do for quite a few years now and I've got plenty of Canada Day celebrations under my belt, so here's my take on this viewpoint as a member of the media.

First off, I don't agree with the mindset that Canada Day celebrations including fireworks, parades, and other community events are "in poor taste" due to everything that's been discovered surrounding generations of Indigenous children in our country. Yes, Canada's past has much to answer for, but here's the reality of it all; take a globe and spin it around before bringing your finger down on any such country. I'd be willing to bet you a steak supper that THAT country's past likely has much to answer for, as well. Should that fact mean that we today don't celebrate the strides that we've taken in the time that has since passed?

Let me be perfectly clear when I tell you that I'm not saying anything to the effect of "move on". Such a statement would be asinine on top of moronic and bullheaded. It would be stupid to attempt to ignore this dark side of Canada's past or do our best to sweep it all under the proverbial rug. No, this can't be ignored, nor should it be ignored. This all happened in our country. We have to own up to it, and we have to accept it.

But that doesn't mean that we have to continue to demonize ourselves over it.

Here's the thing I hope people will remember when June says goodbye and July says hello at the stroke of midnight this week: you are not defined by your past. The generations of young Canadians coming up today tell a magnificent story about progression, advancement, and moving our country forward. They're a living example of making positives instead of dwelling on negatives.

Canadians across the country can choose to live in dark times and negativity, or maybe they could even experience a Canada Day like the one that Outlook hosted last year, which saw a unique, timely and powerful presentation by First Nations hoop dancer Terrance Littletent. All day long, people were smiling together, and they laughed and they cheered. During Terrance's time onstage, they still smiled and they still cheered, but they also remembered and reflected.

For more than 30 years, Littletent has performed, shared, and educated audiences through his song and dance. He's grateful for the teaching that he's been able to do. He told my coworker Shelley in an article published last September that his approach to his performances is to try and bring worlds together.

“We’re going through a tough time right now,” he said. “My uncle would say that under the heavens we are all family, we just happen to be different. I talk about two worlds divided and that there’s a gap between them today. So I take the concept of the two worlds, one side representing Indigenous people and one side representing non-Indigenous people and I put the hoop between them and it’s a bridging of those two worlds.”

Two worlds melded together. As I told you, on that particular July 1st of last year, we remembered and we reflected with Terrance. We also celebrated and smiled.

That's the Canada that I live in. That's the Canada that I'm proud to call home.

If you're conflicted about whether or not to celebrate the events that come with July 1, let me just give you a piece of advice. Take it or leave it, that's completely up to you. My advice to you is simple: don't let the past define who you are today. There are demons in Canada's history. There are also demons in Saskatchewan's history. Hell, there are probably a fair share of demons in your own hometown's history. The problem is that there's a mindset that we all have to take on the backlash, the animosity, and the dark, negative feelings that come with all of it.

The world's dark enough as it is. Let's just celebrate the Canada that we have today, shall we?

For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.