By Patricia Lightfoot

This year, Canada’s 150th birthday is being celebrated. The events planned for Ottawa, where I live, include a fire-breathing dragon and a giant spider processing through the city streets courtesy of the ingenuity of La Machine. But what does the 150th really mean? The First Nations, Métis and Inuit have been here for more than a millennium, and the first European settlers began to make a life here in the early sixteen-hundreds. What is being celebrated is an agreement by four of Canada’s current provinces — Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia — to work towards making all of British North America one nation. The enterprise has clearly been a success, though Newfoundland and Labrador only joined in 1949, and the newest territory, Nunavut, was created in 1999. Generally, the standard of living is high, and life is good for many, but a national failure is our treatment of indigenous communities. It’s time for us to do better. My intention this year is to learn more about the lives of indigenous people in Canada.