Parade controversy in Burns Lake

As an editor, I honestly did not think this story was going to be controversial

After Lakes District News posted a story on Facebook about Burns Lake combining two of its main parades – National Aboriginal Day and Canada Day – several residents expressed their disapproval over that decision.

As an editor, I honestly did not think this story was going to be controversial, so I was surprised by the repercussion after we published the story.

In fact, when I first heard about it, combining the two parades seemed like a great idea from a logistical standpoint, and also taking into account the challenges that we have in Burns Lake. It is no secret that the Canada Day parade was cancelled last year due to a lack of volunteers. This was mainly due to Canada Day falling on a Friday, which meant that many people were out of town for the long weekend.

With the parade being held on a week day, some people won’t be able to attend because they’ll be at work. However, this also means that more people will be in town to watch and support the event.

Also keep in mind that holding a major event such as a parade – specially when it is supposed to be held on Hwy. 16 – involves blocking traffic, dozens of volunteers and hard work. So it’s understandable that a decision was made to combine the two parades. It’s also hard to deny that the intention of “strengthening community unity” is pretty honourable.

But even though combining two parades presents benefits for Burns Lake, when I think about it from a broader perspective, I start to question if it actually does make sense.

For example, some First Nations may not want to celebrate a country that took their lands away and colonized their people. The National Aboriginal Day was created to celebrate the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of Aboriginal Peoples. As Lake Babine Nation Chief Wilf Adam told Lakes District News, “There is unfinished business of Canada reconciling with First Nations.”

On the other hand, some people feel that since this will be Canada’s 150th birthday, changing the parade’s date could in fact diminish the importance of this celebration.

So by combining these two parades – which have distinct purposes – could we be doing a disservice to both celebrations?

My personal opinion is that Burns Lake is a unique town where almost half of its population is aboriginal. If combining the two parades could help strengthen relations between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in Burns Lake, then I can’t think of a better reason to do it.

Maybe coming together to celebrate two very important dates could not only help heal old wounds and strengthen local relations, but it could even serve as an example for the rest of the country.

Besides, Canada Day will still be celebrated on July 1 at Spirit Square in Burns Lake.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Community outbreak of COVID-19 confirmed on Haida Gwaii

Contact tracing has confirmed a total of 13 cases, according to Northern Health

Burns Lake couple escapes the Econo Lodge Fire in time

Escapes unharmed but loses their belongings

Travelling nuns spark social media panic in Burns Lake

The six Catholic nuns with Alberta plates were seen driving around from Prince Rupert to Burns Lake

Betty Stewart, the champion for Burns Lake’s only accessible playground

The woman who considers herself as just a coordinator while the community recognizes her efforts

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Raptors kneel for both American and Canadian anthems ahead of tipoff

Majority of players have substituted their names on the backs of their jerseys with racial and social justice messages

Wild’s Mathew Dumba makes anti-racism speech, kneels ahead of Blackhawks vs. Oilers

Matt Dumba, 26, took to center ice to speak on behalf of fellow members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance

Most Read