Settling into New Space

Hey again – been a while, I know. There were reasons, as there always are. Primary among these was the previously-alluded-to move and the time it took to get set up here. It’s gone reasonably well, and things are starting to feel settled, but with me they always take time.

I tend to be a sort of stay-at-home kind of person, and for good or ill I know I derive some comfort from having familiar things around me. So, the time when the old place was mostly in boxes made things a bit less comfortable for me, because the familiar place stopped feeling so familiar and the beloved things were packed away.

And then after the move, there’s this strange dislocation where I’m in the new place, but even though the familiar things gradually get unpacked, it’s still a new place, and so there’s nowhere that feels like home. At least, not immediately. And so again I feel that absence of comfort.

It’s gradually going away, as I get used to where I live now, and in the grand scheme of potential problems this is far from a bad one. But it takes a minute, and I always find it interesting how much space and surroundings affect us, or at least some of us.

Maybe that’s something I can use in something later, when it’s writing time again.

Soon, I hope.

Thanks for reading.

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Goodbye to Old Roads

Hey, it’s been a while since I did a running blog, right?

(waits for screams)

Don’t worry, I’ll try to keep the hacky metaphors to a minimum in this one.

However, since I’ll be moving soon, it has occurred to me, while I’ve been out running, that these are the last few times that I’ll be on these particular paths, barring exceptional circumstances. Running has been a fairly big part of my life in recent years, and so these are spaces that I have spent a lot of time in, and have become very familiar to me. Running helps me think and helps settle me down, and so these spaces have been part of that, too.

I have learned about birds and plants because of things I have seen there, and (cliché though it sounds) I have learned about myself, also. I have ‘written’ significant chunks of things in my head while running, and things I’ve seen have sparked off ideas. At other times, it has been a completely purposeless time-out from Stuff I’ve been grappling with.

So, although I’m very excited about the place I’ll be moving to, there’s a bit of sadness, or pre-emptive nostalgia, about leaving these trails behind. I’ll have new places to run, and I’m looking forward to discovering those, but leaving my old roads is going to be at least a little bit hard.

On balance, it’s going to be good. I am very aware that I’ve been very fortunate over all the time I have been using these old roads, in many different ways. I would be a fool to complain.

But – like I think a lot of people, just now – I also feel ready for a change, and I think it will be good for me.

So, I’ll have a couple more runs on my old roads, and say goodbye. Then I’ll find out where the capital ‘r’ Road is going to take me next.

Thanks for reading.

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Farewell to Doctor Thirteen

Long-time readers of the blog (I’m sure we have to have at least a couple of those around somewhere) will know that I am a very long-time fan of Doctor Who, going back to Sunday afternoons watching the Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker serials on PBS. So, given that we’ve heard in the past few days that both Jodie Whittaker – the 13th Doctor – and Chris Chibnall – the showrunner – will be leaving the show after the next set of episodes comes out through 2022, it seems to make a reasonable amount of sense to write something about it.

First, regarding Thirteen, I regret that we’re approaching the end of her stories, for at least a couple reasons. One is that (as we saw when the announcement was made) there are still more close-minded chuds out there than you’d like to think who are delighted that Whittaker is leaving, solely because they haven’t been able to wrap their teeny minds around the idea of a woman in the role to begin with. So I wish she was staying for that reason alone.

But – more significantly – Jodie Whittaker has also been really good in the role. I have thoroughly enjoyed her sort of awkwardly enthusiastic version of the character,

There is a however.

My however is this: I find it a shame that, despite how much I’ve liked Thirteen and think Whittaker has done a great Doctor, possibly the best appearance she’s made was in the short video Whittaker shot in her house at the beginning of the pandemic. Which was a delight.

Or, to put it another way, while I think Thirteen has been great, I think the character (and, really all the characters surrounding her) have been let down by writing that has been mostly poor with gusts to awful. There has been good stories – ‘Demons of the Punjab’ was really solid, and ‘It Takes You Away’ was excitingly ambitious – but by and large they’ve not been great and the big sweeping ‘Ascension of the Cybermen’ and ‘The Timeless Children’ was a ghastly mess. (And, I should say, another good example of a good portrayal being wasted: much as I regret the loss of the ‘Missy’ version of the character, Sacha Dhawan was having so much fun as the Master it was impossible not to dig it)

Which sort of brings us to Chris Chibnall, who has tried to bring a massive new twist to the Doctor Who world, one which didn’t make a lot of sense and, to me, diminishes the character. Without going through the whole story, I’ve always felt like one of the strengths of the Doctor as a character is that they’re just an ordinary member of their (very advanced) society, with mediocre academic qualifications and no particular influence, who decides to start using their position of relative power (able to travel in time and space) to Do Good Things. Yes, they enjoy travelling, but they also always try to make things better.

To me that’s a wonderful kind of hero, and a wonderful message – the person who just decides to do what good they can.

I think it’s not nearly as good a story to have the Doctor in fact turn out to be some extra-special unique creature of destiny who is remarkable, not for the choices they make, but because of sort of in-built factors. Now fortunately, that whole version of events was supplied by the Master, who lies like a fish swims, so it’s all relatively easily undone, if future writers want to do it.

If anyone were to ask me, I would suggest that whoever takes over from Chibnall should be a writer who does not want to make some dramatic change to Doctor Who and reimagine the character. There’s been a bit much of that already in the revived series. I think someone who is just interested in telling some solid SF tales within the established universe would be so much better. There’s a reason the character and the show has had such a long lasting appeal. Sometimes you don’t need to mess with a great recipe. It seems to me like writing Doctor Who can be approached like writing a set of short stories rather than spinning out the novel-length plots they’ve been in love with recently. Those Pertwee and Baker serials only did that sort of thing rarely, and it had much more impact for that very reason.

I have also seen a couple of articles suggesting that it might be time for Doctor Who to take an extended break, and although I think there’s approximately zero chance of that happening, when it’s one of the BBC’s most marketable properties, I have a certain amount of sympathy for the idea. Although Doctor Who has fans who will watch as long as the show is being made, if there isn’t someone who has a clear idea of what they’d like to do with the character and the stories they’d like to tell, I think it might not be a bad idea to hit pause until the show is ready to come back really strong.

In any case, we’ve got at least a few more Thirteen stories yet to come, and I’ll look forward to those and hope that her best stuff is ahead. And then. Because I’m a fan, I will be very interested to see who Doctor Fourteen will be, and where things go next.

Thanks for reading.

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Good and Bad Stories from Montreal

Although if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you will know that I am a sports fan, I don’t write very much about sports on here (or ‘or anything, lately’, some of you will have pointed out, with a certain amount of justification) because it isn’t that kind of blog and honestly the lasts thing the internet needs is more Sports Opinions. However, I’m giving you one today anyway, and only partly because it gives me something to write about.

For people who are not sports fans, the attraction is often hard to understand, in the way that nearly any fandom that you’re not a part of can look incomprehensible from the outside. But basically, the appeal of watching sports is that it is entertainment: watching a hockey game or a 100m sprint or a gymnastics competition is watching a story that you don’t know the end of yet. Human nature being what it is, we can find our heroes and villains in the story, hope for certain outcomes. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t. Things happen in these real-world stories that if you tried to put them in a fictional one, people would insist they are ‘too unbelievable’.

That’s the main reason why I watch, anyway, overlaid with other ones that we don’t need to dig into today.

As you will also probably have been unable to avoid noticing if you follow me on social media, this spring and summer my favourite hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens, gave us a heck of a story. They kind of scraped into the playoffs, which meant a first-round matchup with the arch-rival Toronto Maple Leafs (forever the villains in the Canadiens’ story). The Leafs were one of the teams favoured to win the Cup, so this was not predicted to go well. Montreal won the first game, which was fun, but then lost the next 3 (of a best of 7 series) and things did not look good.

But then the Canadiens won the next 3 games in a row to take the series and eliminate the Leafs. This was already a great story (for Montreal fans), but then they won the next round. And the next round, against another Cup-favourite team, enabling the Canadiens to reach the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in 28 years. Now, at this point ‘reality’ reasserted itself, and the Canadiens did not end up winning the Cup, but (again, for fans of the team) it was still an amazing, exciting ride that was perhaps especially appreciated as it came in what we hope are the latter stages of the pandemic.

The Montreal Canadiens told a wonderful story.

Then some time passed, and we got to last week’s NHL Entry Draft. With their first-round selection, Montreal took a player who had taken pictures of a girl while they were having sex, and distributed them to his teammates. He was found guilty and paid a small fine in Sweden, and had said (however we choose to assess the sincerity of the statement) that he did not want to be drafted this year because he didn’t deserve it. The Canadiens picked him anyway.

The Montreal Canadiens told a terrible story, an all too familiar one, where the violation and abuse of women is something to be forgiven and forgotten, especially if you happen to have a highly-marketable skill. ‘Good at hockey’ was a more important factor in deciding whether or not to add this person to their organization than ‘sex offender’ was. What a horrific message to send to the women and girls who are fans of the team, and hockey in general. What a horrific message to send to young men, also – that if you abuse women, it doesn’t matter if you’re good at hockey. We knew society sends this message, or ones like it, all the time, despite constant calls for change and commitments to change.

Lots of people have responded to criticism of the pick with comments on the age of the young man and calls for him to get a ‘second chance’. As far as I can see he’s still on his first chance, though – aside from the fine, the consequences for him have been a couple of awkward conversations with the press as he continues his express ride to the best hockey league in the world. His abuse of a young woman hasn’t even slowed him down. Of course he has a right to live his life and earn a living, but playing pro hockey in the richest league in the world? That’s not a right, but it is something the Montreal Canadiens insisted on handing him.

Meanwhile, we know that his victim will wrestle with this for the rest of her life, and doesn’t ever really get that ‘clean slate’ everyone seems so eager to give to her abuser. ‘Move on and let the kid play hockey’, except she doesn’t get to move on. The story our society is telling when we decide that doesn’t matter very much because someone is a marketable athlete isn’t a very good one at all.

There’s a decent argument to be made that our society gives sports, and athletes, far more prominence and influence than they should reasonably have, but have it they do, and as much as the organizations and owners love to exploit the wonderful stories sports can tell to sell tickets and merch, they should also think far more than they do about the negative stories they allow themselves to be part of, with the behaviours that are tolerated and rewarded if they can lead to some goals, strikeouts, or first downs.

Where does this leave me with the Montreal Canadiens? I honestly don’t know. There’s still time for them to rescind the pick, but no indication that they actually will do so. I stopped being a fan of the NFL when I found it impossible to continue giving my support to the culture and institutions around pro football. I don’t know if I’m there yet with the NHL, and the Canadiens, but they have decided to tell such a terrible story, and it killed the joy from the wonderful one.

Thanks for reading.

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Imagining Escapes

Late one this week, and I don’t have a huge amount to write about (man, you really know how to sell these blog entries, Evan) but I have been reading an interesting book the last while that gave me something to think about. I’ve taken one of my forays into non-fiction and I’m reading The Art of Resistance by Justus Rosenberg. Boiled down, it is about a young man from Danzig who goes from ‘literature student at the Sorbonne’ to ‘underground resistance fighter’ in the months and years after the Second World War has broken out around him.

It’s a pretty amazing story, and I’m only about halfway through.

However, we’ve already been through a part where he was part of a network that helped a variety of intellectuals who would have been in danger from the Nazis get out of Occupied France. This included many members of the surrealist movement, and Rosenberg got to meet people like Chagall and Max Ernst, and have conversations with them (although these were apparently always hampered by the feeling on both sides that they were not quite on the same intellectual plane, which is a feeling I get a lot when talking to very clever people).

Among these was an opportunity to ask André Breton why it was that surrealist art needed to be quite so strange. (And again, I sympathise) Breton apparently responded (paraphrasing the book here) that the problems of the world could not be solved by small changes within established ways of thinking; what was necessary was a completely new way of imagining society and humanity, and that was what surrealism was meant to encourage.

For me reading this, right away it made surrealism make more sense to me than it ever had before (I am not what one would call a philosophy major), but it also crystallized for me part of what I think the strength of SFF writing is, and why I like it so much. Because a lot of SFF is doing that exact thing, even if it isn’t surrealist – it’s still asking you to imagine the world, or a world, in a completely different way. And see where that takes you.

Perhaps especially in times where things look awfully bad, a flight of the imagination is how we can see our way out.

That’s what I’ve got for you this week. Thanks for reading.

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There it be

Ok, so obviously we missed an entry last week, primarily because I just didn’t have anything I felt like writing about. With all that has been continuing to happen in recent days, it just hasn’t felt appropriate to be yelling about stories with elves in them, even though I recognize very much that we absolutely all need our escape moments, especially in trying times.

So this week I was going to write another whole thing of some more of my thoughts on what is going on in Canada of late, hampered somewhat by my undying awareness that my thoughts on what is going on in Canada of late have probably already been said better by someone else, and we’re not dying for White Dude Opinion #8238 to begin with, and further that this is not really what this blog is usually for.

So I was back and forth on what to do this week until I was out on my back deck, and looked at the purple pansy plant (formerly Mystery Plant) and saw this:

Yes, that’s a tiny piece of lobelia. Obviously not the same plant as the one from this previous entry, the one I tried to over-winter, but some of its offspring, for certain. I’m not gonna write another long hacky metaphor about meanings to be attached to this plant but – I really, truly thought with all of the less-than-ideal conditions, and then another plant growing in its place, that the lobelia was fully gone. But there it is. A little bit of it made it through, and is blooming in the sunshine of another summer.

I’ll be back yelling about Iron Fist real soon, I promise.

Thanks for reading.

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July 1

So July 1st is coming, and long time readers of the blog may remember that I usually do a post about Canada Day and my thoughts about it. I usually try to keep it pretty positive, because in general I think there’s nothing wrong with taking a little time to feel good and be happy about good things. However this year, it’s been suggested that maybe we shouldn’t be celebrating Canada Day. Not this year.

Usually on Canada Day we (perhaps uncharacteristically, as a nation) puff ourselves up a bit, talk about how great it is living in Canada, and what a good place we’ve created. Usually we eat a bunch of food and do some fun stuff. Pre-pandemic, I usually ran a race. And it’s a nice summer day. But I think I agree we shouldn’t do that this year, and here’s why.

It hasn’t been a great few weeks, for Canada.

215 (and counting) bodies of Indigenous children were discovered in an unmarked burial on the site of a former residential school. I wrote about that a little bit ago.

There was a deadly Islamophobic terror attack.

And there was a vicious incident of homophobic violence.

That’s just, like, recently. So I don’t feel particularly like throwing my hands in the air and shouting about how wonderful this country is or what an amazing place it is. Look, it’s better than some other places you could name. I genuinely believe there are a lot of good things about it, and the people who live here.

But as much as Canada, and Canadians, are often proud to talk about ourselves as a force for good and positive change in the world, it’s also pretty clear that what we need to do is start pretty close to home. We have a lot of work to do on ourselves. There’s a lot of things that are, frankly, not good about this place, too. There’s a lot of discrimination, a lot of violence, and a lot of hate. There’s a lot of people who are left behind and left vulnerable. Canada’s ideals all sound pretty great, but you don’t have to look very hard to see that we’re well short of them.

And this is not to say that everyone needs to feel bad, or that everyone needs to apologize, or something. Nothing is accomplished by individuals feeling sad, or private citizens saying that they’re sorry. I’m not saying (and I don’t think anyone is saying) that we should spend the day inside with the lights out, moping. On the contrary, this is a time when action is called for. What is needed is for all of us to commit to being active participants in the ongoing struggle to make things better.

To end the genocide of Indigenous people and move towards real reconciliation and reparation.

To create a society that is truly welcoming and safe for each and every kind of person, and where they can thrive.

It’s going to take all of us. The marginalized and oppressed and hurt and disadvantaged cannot and should not do it by themselves. They’ve carried the load long enough, and they need a hand up. Every person can find ways to do that. That’s how we move towards a better future.

Indulge me for a second while I give you a quote from Matt Fraction’s run on Immortal Iron Fist, which I finally got around to reading. It’s from the big fight scene at the end. “We fight as one in spite of our origins, and our histories. We fight against the darkness so that we may again know light … we force the darkness down, inch by inch. And that’s how, one step at a time, the good guys start to win.”

One step at a time. Tiny change by tiny action. We can do it, even if we’re not in a literal kung-fu fight against the forces of Hydra. (Immortal Iron Fist was pretty rad, folks)

So, I think maybe on July 1st, we should be thinking about how we can do that, and committing ourselves to that, rather than patting ourselves on the back about an aspirational version of Canada that does not and never has existed.

But it can.

Let’s all be a part of that, one step at a time. I would love it if, this time next year, we could be talking about all the ways that we’ve started to win.

Thanks for reading.

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Subtract Books, Add Books

I am bad at getting rid of books. I fully acknowledge that I am a book hoarder, which I justify in part because I am also a great re-reader of books, so a lot of the time when I keep a book it’s because I genuinely expect to read it again. On the other hand I also have a lot of books that I haven’t touched in years and honestly do not expect to, thus the very full bookshelves surrounding me.

Some of this is the leftover effect of the time when I thought I would have a career in academia, and kept lots of stuff that I figured would be important reference material for later. It’s still here.

I can’t blame everything on that, though, because the bottom line is that I hate to discard a book. To give you an idea of the scale of the problem, at one point I somehow acquired two identical copies of William Gibson’s short story collection Burning Chrome. Same cover, same everything. I still really don’t know how it happened, but the thing is that I kept them both for a really long time. The two Burning Chromes made several moves with me and sat next to each other on many shelves. Finally, only a few years ago, when I had absolutely maxed out shelf capacity, I got rid of one of them. It wasn’t easy.

I mention all this because I’ll be moving later this summer and I’m trying to weed out the bookshelves a bit, of things I do not need and will not read again. It’s still not easy. I have had for a long time now this huge and weighty tome analysing the work of Niccolo Machiavelli called The Machiavellian Moment that was a required text for a course in the distant past. It cost, as I recall, quite a bit and the resale market for used Machiavellian Moments is the next thing to zero and I suppose I thought I might use it for something, and so it moved and moved and moved again.

Today I finally took it off the shelf to get rid of it. Then I put it back. Then I steeled myself, and finally weeded out The Machiavellian Moment, along with a bunch of other stuff. There’s still more to do, but I have to break it up into chunks. Even the ‘easy’ calls, books by authors who I don’t want on my shelves any more, or dire tomes like the Machiavelli one, are hard to get done.

I’m not exactly sure why. Obviously I love reading and I love my collection of books, and so chucking stuff overboard has more weight than hucking out stuff I have no affection for. But it must be said that I am not great at throwing away stuff in general. Mostly I always think I might need it again later, and then I’ll be sorry. I suppose this is especially true for books, that are always good for something.

If, a year from now, I desperately need an expert perspective on Machiavelli’s Florentine Histories, I’m going to kick myself.

Anyway, no big crescendo coming here, just … getting rid of books is hard. All of them, even the ones I only read once, are objects that I spent some time with and thought on, and I suppose they’re all part of my familiar surroundings, even the ones that usually stay on the shelves. Change is never comfortable, at least not for me.

—-

However in many cases it’s good, and in this case weeding out the bookshelves is good both because there will be a bit less to pack and move, but also since it provides room to buy more books! I don’t do a lot of reviews on this thing, mostly because I don’t think I am anywhere near widely-read enough to provide truly informed commentary, but despite that I’m going to make a recommendation of something you might want to add to your own shelf.

Jay Odjick’s new graphic novel The Outsider: Welcome to Newtown recently came out and recently arrived at my place. At the end of the day it showed up, I thought I would just look at the first few pages to get a sense of it. I ended up doing the extremely cliched thing of not being able to put it down and reading the whole thing.

Jay has written a fun post-apocalyptic tale that provides an exciting ride of gunfights, fist fights, and machete fights, and turns out to have a good heart to it as well. I know it’s one that he poured a lot of effort and energy into, and I think that really comes across. I think you’ll be glad if you give The Outsider a shot and add it to the bookshelf at your house.

It’s also a much, much, much better read than The Machiavellian Moment.

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For anyone who looked at last week’s Unknown Plant and thought ‘pansy’, give yourself a prize. A few days later the mystery plant bloomed and looks like this:

It’s a lovely deep purple and I promise not to make another tortured metaphor about coming out of the pandemic, but this plant is a survivor and I like it.

Thanks for reading.

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Unknown Plant Encounters

Ok buckle up because this is going to be another odd one.

You may remember that last year, I mentioned the late-season revival of my lobelia plant, thoughts connected to that, and that I was going to try to overwinter it. Well, this I duly did, and … it did not go great, pretty much as various gardening websites had led me to expect. The plant did produce a bunch of seed, but then it died back completely, and although I had put the seed back into the same pot, there was not much in the way of signs of life.

Except for this one small green leafy bit that didn’t look much like lobelia to me but I was prepared to take a shot on it, and when spring came I put the pot back outside in the sun and I’ve been taking care of it. Here’s our current state of affairs.

Friends, that is not a lobelia.

Whatever it is, though, it is about to bloom, or moving towards it, anyway, and it’s a bit of a mystery to me exactly what sort of plant it could be after all this time. Everyone loves a mystery, so of course I have to wait and see what the flower looks like, and perhaps then I can identify it.

I’m reasonably confident it’s not a triffid.

As per usual, I also Have Thoughts about all this. This plant pot has been through a bit – winter, the death of what was there before – but now something else has grown. Different than what was there before, but something that promises to have its own beauty to it, along with the special sauce of being new and unexpected.

I like to hope that may be where we’re headed, as we very gradually start to come out of the worst of the pandemic. We’ve been through a lot. A lot of things that were there before may have gone away, or at least changed a lot, so even as the pandemic loosens its grip, we may find that things will not be the same as they were before. (Historian hat briefly: this is what previous pandemics should lead us to expect) But,

And also, many of us have been shut down in various ways over the past year or so, either because of things we haven’t been able to do, or we haven’t had the energy or been in the right head space due to the pandemic reality. That’s starting to loosen up a bit, and perhaps that means we can get back to doing all those interrupted things, and start to do cool stuff again. Like … whatever this plant is about to do.

I’m starting to feel like I might be in the right place to write some stuff again. I’ll let you know how it goes.

And I’ll keep you updated on the mystery plant.

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Important Work

I had another thing I was going to write about this week, about the casting for the Sandman series and how it made particular people lose their minds and what I think that reveals about them, and I don’t know, maybe it would have been a decent blog entry.

But then the bodies of 215 children were discovered on the site of a former residential school in B.C., and it doesn’t seem worth writing about the Sandman cast any more.

Canada’s genocide against First Nations and Inuit people is the ongoing shame of our nation. It is a crime that continues to affect people up to the very moment that I am writing this, and it has many facets and tendrils, but the residential school system must be among the most horrific. It was designed by the Canadian government (no, we can’t blame the British for this one) specifically to eliminate First Nations people and enable the continuing expropriation of their land and resources. It was implemented largely by religious institutions, but (conscience-salving though it might be) we can’t shift all the blame onto them either because, again, the objectives were set by the government. Quite explicitly.

Some people still feel it important to try and defend these things, add qualifiers, ‘yes but’s. I don’t understand those people.

I remember when some of the first court cases brought by survivors started to happen in the 80s and 90s. I remember my first reaction was thinking ‘well, that can’t be right’ because of course that wasn’t the sort of thing that happened in Canada, that Canadians did. I had learned, very much, the comforting national tale of Canada the good and kind. When my history classes had touched on First Nations people (which was not all that often), we learned the version of the story where Indigenous people preferred dealing with the British to the Americans because they got better treatment. There are few things more Canadian than seizing the opportunity to dunk on the United States.

Now of course this was at best partly true, and certainly not the whole or most significant part of the story, and we certainly never got to the part where Sir John A. MacDonald asked for a way to get rid of Indigenous people. I don’t really blame my history teachers, because my guess is they didn’t know much about it either. A lot of the ugly parts of Canada’s history have been very carefully camouflaged under the ‘aw shucks’ national myth.

But the schools were there, and we’ve known a lot of the horrifying details about them for a while now, about the physical and sexual abuse, about the unpaid forced labour, about the poor conditions, and about the deaths of so many of the children. How many? Well that was hard to say, because no-one thought it was important, or maybe not prudent, to actually keep proper track.

So you have things like the bodies of 215 children waiting to be re-discovered.

I’m not the right person to say what can or should be done to try to heal the wounds of all the people hurt and traumatized by everything that Canada has done to Indigenous people. I really don’t know how you can ever reach a point where things are ok, or anything like ok. I believe it must be a long and probably endless process of trying to recognize the truth of what has happened, to listen to what Indigenous people need, and then giving it.

I believe that a minimum starting point is to – as my friend Jay Odjick puts it – treat the site of every residential school like a crime scene, right now, and examine them all to find all the remaining evidence of what happened there. Of course it will cost money, probably a lot of money, but the thing is there always turns out to be money for the things we think are really important. This is really important.

There’s so much work that is really important that urgently needs to be done. I have tried to do what little I can by teaching about these things when I have the chance. I have a lot to learn, but it’s really important to try.

I also take a lot of heart from the fact that – unlike me at that age – many of my students are already aware of all this, and already angry about it. It gives me hope that a really different future is coming.

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