(Photo courtesy of @cindeelah)
“Both my parents were born in Lebanon as Palestinian refugees. Despite being born and growing up there, knowing the language, acquiring a higher education degree, and having a skilled job, my Dad was never permitted to become an equal member of society. He would always remain a refugee. But, he found the opposite in Canada, a country that provided him with citizenship, privileges and opportunities that he never thought possible.
Growing up, my parents always told us that we were blessed to be in this country, to be Canadian. I became a professor of education, and a major part of my doctoral dissertation and subsequent research explores what it means to be a Canadian Palestinian Muslim woman.
I share my parents’ love for this country, especially when I think about my parents and grandparents’ stories, and how blessed my family is. But I am also aware that this love means holding ourselves and each other accountable, because our privileges are profoundly linked to the ongoing dispossession of Indigenous peoples. The history of this country is rife with injustice and we don’t always meet its aspirational goals. I think that we can work towards this vision, though, as long as we commit to building relationships with each other with open hearts and minds and ensuring this country becomes an equitable place for everyone.
So, the question of what it means to be Canadian, for me, is incredibly complex. Alongside the rights we enjoy, there is great responsibility on our shoulders as Treaty people, and we must all work to ensure that Canada lives up to the idea we hold for it.” — Muna, Edmonton/ Treaty 6