What’s in a Sign?

6 Nov

This morning I woke up early and was fortunate to catch the sunrise as I walked along the lakeshore. It’s one of my favourite places. As I walked, I came across this sign. It’s not the first time I’ve seen it, but it caught my attention today again, especially since I’ve been thinking a lot about reconciliation.


The first thing that caught my attention today was the graffiti. My first thought, which made me angry: disregard for the sacredness of what the sign stands for. A reminder of the history and legacy of colonization. But then, I considered that maybe it could mean something else – pointing to the hollowness of a sign in a country where we continue disregard Indigenous peoples.


What can a sign like this mean?

It can raise awareness about the people who first walked on this land. It can honour them. It can become a talking point to learn more. It can show a reverence and respect for the path we are on together. It can be a symbol of a forward motion, and positive change.

And it could also just be a sign – a sign that perhaps began with an intention for more. Or maybe not.

Signs like this can be amazing tools to create conversation, dialogue and help to create reconciliation  – and a new story for Canada.But then other things must stand behind them: Knowledge. Awareness. Intention. Willingness. Tangible, real change. A piece of the puzzle, not the only picture.

To me, the sign would mean more if we were doing more with regard to Indigenous rights, and changing our relationships. If that was tangible in this country. As it stands, it’s a sign that suggests to me we think a piece of rock with some writing will cut it. And that makes me angry and sad.

See more.

Copyright 2016 Annemarie Shrouder
Speaker, Facilitator, and Consultant on issues of Diversity & Inclusion

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