In the millennia before the arrival of Europeans, the history of our Anicinabe nation, like that of all First Nations, was one of evolution: that of a deep-rooted culture, language and way of life that blossomed over time. Since the beginning of colonial history, our nation’s history, like that of all First Nations, has been one of disintegration, a one-way road to extinction.
The invasion was physical at first. Our traditional territories became the backdrop for the fur trade, then for natural resources development: forestry, farming, mining, rail and road development. The psychological invasion followed closely, in parallel, first with the arrival of the missionaries, then with the law prohibiting our religious practices, ceremonies and rites of passage essential to our culture. They entered our heads so that we become like them, assimilated into their culture, invisible in their society and, above all, racism towards our own identity and ancestral knowledge.
As children in their schools, separated from our fathers and mothers, we learned to eradicate our culture and language with the best weapons available: hatred and shame. They made us “responsible citizens”, i.e. “whitewashed” in our way of being and thinking, in line with European and Canadian expectations and values.