Dene National Chief Norman Yakelaya called on the nation to be the change they want to see.

“If things are to change, we as Dene need to change,” he told Yellowknifer.

“And that means we have to do it together as a family and put our family back together again.”

As far as Canada and the Church still have to go to realize reconciliation, it is a small comfort to see Yellowknifers turning towards their neighbours instead of away. He said he wants Canada to do better. He’s certainly put his money where his mouth is.

Artist Jackson Crowe released his first album last week and told Yellowknifer he would donate 100 per cent of the proceeds to the Residential School Survivors Society — a B.C. organisation that provides counselling and cultural support services to residential school survivors. His reasoning? He’s acknowledging he’s benefited from the same system that’s stacked against Indigenous peoples. It’s basically compensation for systemic racism and the effects of colonialism.

Find “small projects like this one” and take action yourself, Crowe said, humble to a fault. How perfect – how chilling – a title for such a gesture at this moment in time is Tombstones?

“Canada is a country worth celebrating, but not at the cost of others’ lives,” he said. “We can all do better. We must do better if we truly want to be proud of this nation.”

We can only offer what we have to give and Crowe’s done exactly that.

Let’s take his example and start to build a Canada we can all be proud of.

Craig Gilbert

Craig is an award-winning journalist who has worked in Ontario, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Alberta. He should be at least six feet away from you at all times.

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