Get Over It

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Why don’t you just get over it?

It’s a question posed to Indigenous peoples routinely

These words come laced with traces of manifest destiny

Like people are breathing the same air of the same breeze

That pushed Columbus’ sails to shore

Get over it

This equates to being uncomfortable with the privilege

Of living off of Indigenous lands

And on legacies that were built on minorities backs

If you’re going to step to me with this blatant dismissal

You better have your rebuttal grounded in facts

  1. Indigenous spirituality and gatherings were outlawed by policy based on European fear and control
  2. Laws were put in place to separate families and placed Indigenous kids in residential schools so they could swallow the indian whole
  3. Treaty processes were tainted with interpreters with forked tongues and signed under duress or under the false pretence that nothing would change.
  4. Nothing remained the same
  5. Our traditional ways of governing were undermined and restricted and reconstructed without our consent
  6. Indians were restricted to the confines of reservations unless they had an official pass from an indian agent
  7. Sled dogs in the north were mass executed to stop nomadic living and start government reliance
  8. Indians were banned from getting legal representation and from participating in forms of colonial defiance
  9. The residential school era cut the tongues out of our mouths, buried babies, and bred dysfunction
  10. If we’re looking at how fair treaties are because of so called benefits, well then you’re looking at a land reduction

Please know what “it” is before you tell generations of nations to sweep genocide under the rug

Because it makes your history look unclean

Would you have the audacity to tell blacks to silence stories about slavery?

Or south Africa to choke back and swallow apartheid?

What about the Maori, the Aboriginese, the Polynesians?

White guilt and white privilege is getting a complex

So we better hold our lips and keep our version of history in check

We don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable with the shifting colours of our presence

Create tensions at the utter mention of the stories that indigenous bodies hold

You act as if this story of genocide and assimilation is centuries old

Like old policies are not chopped up , repackaged

And given back with the same bones

Bones, is what we have been given

The other day I heard a story of a man who was beaten as a child for stealing scraps for starving children in residential school. Scraps that came from the lavish plates of priests and nuns. Scraps that were destined for the garbage.

Beaten for bones.

Bones that were beaten.

So the next time you go to say get over “it” you better realize that “it” is alive and well and it exists in every facet of this society

Every systemic structure is plagued with racial inequalities that are provided as privilege to you and at the expense of minorities.

Maybe you need to get over ethnic superiority, one sided history, and illusion of right to colonial legacy

Just saying though, maybe the “getting over” isn’t meant to be applied to me.

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9 comments

  1. Thank you for writing this and reminding us about what people are saying. I’ve heard this many times myself about telling us to get over it. But then try saying this to people who have had their families totally annihilated as a result of colonialism. Land was stolen, families were separated and just being who we are meant that others could come and take all that away, and its easy for others to say get over it. I don’t think so. Thank you for reminding us of this reality in our lives.

    1. Yes, and I find most people can’t define “it” and don’t know there history or the impacts. That’s why I wrote this piece, but again, big part of the decolonization is past that.. dreaming and revitalization 😉

  2. I believe that telling the First Nations People of this land to “get over it” is like telling Israel that the holocaust didn’t happen and the Jewish people should “just get over it”. Just saying

    1. Indeed, we can see humanity’s resistance to acknowledge some forms of genocide but embrace others, “lest we forget”. These acts are one in the same and need to be acknowledged as so. Thank you for reading.

  3. A great post. Very eloquently put. I live in England and have noticed that Europeans tend to romanticise indigenous North Americans, but they are more willing to hear and learn about the Native American Holocaust. I belong to the Muscogee and am untangling/exploring my Native inheritance through my artwork.

  4. Thank you. I am so enraged when I’ve been told this, or my culture has been belittled, thank you for giving me wise words to read, and soothing my indigenous rage…..Lol.

    1. Indigenous rage is all a part of the process. I have had moments when learning about historical colonial/genocidal efforts where I’ve screamed or threw a book lol. It also about being able to move past that into action and rebuilding/reclamation/revitalization. Its such a good journey, hard but necessary and good. Thanks for the reply.

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