How Charles and Camilla will encounter the colonial past during their visit to Saint John |  CBC News

How Charles and Camilla will encounter the colonial past during their visit to Saint John | CBC News

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visit Canada House in London on Thursday, ahead of a royal tour that begins Tuesday in St John’s. (AFP)

Prince Charles and Camilla will only be in St. John’s for a few hours on Tuesday, but their short stay – the first stop on a three-day Canadian tour – will include a moment that is part of a broader theme of their visit.

John’s on Tuesday, Prince Charles and Camilla will visit Government House and walk in what officials say will be a “majestic” meditation and prayer in Heart Garden, in honor of Aboriginal children who died in boarding schools.

They will listen to a prayer in Inuktitut, listen to Mi’kmaw music, watch performers perform a performance of song and story, and visit Indigenous guests and characters, all in what is described as a “spirit of reconciliation”.

The event is part of the tour’s focus on mending relations with the indigenous people, which not only represents an admission of the crown’s wrongdoing but also raises questions about the responsibility that royals have in modern times in colonialism.

Mary Simon, the first aboriginal governor-general of Canada, He issued an invoice for the royal visit As an opportunity “to showcase the development of our country, our diverse and inclusive society, as well as the resilience of indigenous communities.”

For the event, which took place in the Heart Garden, a quiet corner on the grounds of the official residence of the lieutenant governor near downtown St. John’s, invitations were sent to representatives of five different Aboriginal groups in Newfoundland and Labrador.

However, at least one prominent leader would not attend.

Johannes Lampe, head of Nonatsiavut, the government representing Inuits in northern Labrador, told CBC News he was happy to be invited but was busy that day. Nunatsyavut held the swearing-in ceremony for her newly elected representatives on Tuesday, and said his responsibilities rest with his people.

Another leader hopes the royal visit will focus on Aboriginal issues.

Todd Russell, chair of the Nonatukavut Community Council, which represents people who claim Inuit origin in southern Labrador, said such a visit makes sense and could signal a radical change in the way indigenous voices are included and heard.

Johannes Lamb, left, Prime Minister of Nonatiavot, and Todd Russell, President of Nonatukavut, speak to reporters in St. John’s during a protest against the Muskrat Falls hydropower project. (Paul Daly/The Canadian Press)

However, Russell stopped short of describing the couple’s Canadian tour as merely a reconciliation.

“We certainly feel that this is done with a certain amount of integrity, that it is not a check mark, [that] We must include the indigenous peoples. “I think it goes deeper than that,” Russell said.

“However, I think we must acknowledge it for what it is. It is a visit from members of the royal family. It is an occasion on which our relationship can be emphasized. But I do not want to go too far to say that the royal visit is really about reconciliation itself, that this was a major feature of the reason for the visit. “.

Russell sees the visit as an opportunity to showcase the culture of his people and raise the bar for the work being done in the field of reconciliation.

The Crown and the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada

Very few people, Russell said, recognize the connection between the Crown – now represented through provincial and federal governments – and disaffected people.

This relationship was entrenched in the Royal Proclamation of 1763, a law that was intended to protect Aboriginal lands.

Posters and ribbons were placed at the gates of the Colonial Building, across the street from Government House in St. John’s, as a protest against Canada’s history with boarding schools. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

However, Aboriginal groups across Canada say the monarchy has failed to deliver on its promises, and the consequences have fallen to Aboriginal peoples through loss of land, culture, and life.

The introduction of the residential school system was influenced by British colonialism.

Russell said reactions to the royal family and its larger role with Aboriginal peoples have been mixed.

“We often feel that the Crown and its governments did not keep their promises and did not adhere to the values ​​of the relationship, and that these were really the agreements and relationships that arose out of supposed equality,” he said.

However, Russell said, he sees the visit as an opportunity to learn because reconciliation resulting from ignorance is of no use at all.

“I think it is important that the Crown and the Monarchy be fully aware of what their representative governments are doing, and what their relationships are, because they are the Crown,” said Russell.

Steps in the right direction

Lambi said that the Labrador Inuit has been ostracized and ignored for far too long.

He said relations between the Inuit and the Canadian and Newfoundland and Labrador governments are slowly being repaired, but it will be a long journey that will continue beyond his life.

John’s House, which was unveiled in June 2019, will be the focal point of Tuesday’s royal visit. (Eddie Kennedy/CBC)

“I think this is a step in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go,” Lambie said, recalling painful memories of the forced resettlement of Inuit residents from the Hebron and Notak communities in the 1950s, and boarding schools. .

“Kids have been taken and brought to boarding schools so the work of trying to get things right is happening but it’s a very slow and difficult process, sometimes we have to get to very difficult issues or things to say, whether it’s in Newfoundland and Labrador or Canada.”

Lamb points to the creation of the Inuit-Crown Partnership Commission, which was built on the premise that an equal partnership between the Inuit and the Crown is vital to the reconciliation process. The committee meets three times a year.

Prince Charles has been the heir apparent to the British throne since 1952. It is the longest running heir in history. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Modern-day royals seem far removed from the struggles facing Aboriginal communities across Canada, but Lamb said they have a role to play in reconciliation. But what exactly that looks like is not clear.

“I continue to believe that what members of the royal family say or can say will be very important to help the reconciliation process,” Lambie said.

For the Lambi, understanding Inuit Labrador culture must go beyond watching drumming and throat singing. He said that this is only a glimpse into the culture.

There’s not much apology for the anticipated colonial missteps in the pomp and conditions of the three-day tour, and Russell said he doesn’t expect one of them.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

2022-05-14 10:30:00

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