Last week both the owners of Farend Natural Products were in Montreal to raise a totem pole in front of the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. This was a important event for all Canadians, not just us, and not just for first nations people here. The pole was raised to tell the story of children taken from their homes as a part of a program of cultural genocide.
We weren't just there to raise the pole and leave it for others to interpret. Charles, the carver, is a member of the Kwakwaka'wakw nation and he was erecting a piece of his art in Mohawk territory. It was important respect the sovereignty of the Mohawk nation and seek permission. The ceremony that took place acknowledged this request and their positive answer.
The totem shown here is a symbol of both the culture of one of the nations in the land we call Canada and the attempted extermination of that culture. This is an important point in time for all Canadians. History is telling stories and now is the time to move forward and start telling stories that more closely resemble the truth of how the nation of Canada was built upon illegally confiscated land and the abuse of small children who only wanted to live with their families and learn their traditional values and practices.
When you pass through Montreal over the next six months, visit the pole and reflect on this hidden piece of Canadian history. Consider what you might do to add to the truth and reconciliation. And enjoy the real beauty the piece has to offer: it is a staggering work of art that took nearly two years to complete.