Aside: Canada’s Betrayal of the First Nations People

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A note on the First Nations: Algonquin Park is one of my favourite parts of the world, and I’ve traveled extensively across our blue planet. There is a cautionary tale that we must learn about this hallowed park, though. We must recognize that this love that many of us share came at a dear price, as I will elaborate on later in this book. From the early Europeans to the Christian missionaries, to present day sensibilities, the First Nations people were, and remain outcasts, foreigners on their own land.

© Remy Michaels

But it is we who are the foreigners on what was their land. The presumption that since the First Nations had nothing to prove the land belonged to them, meant they had no “ownership” kicked off some very ugly periods of our shared history.

Thousands of years of that history were snuffed out in what is a heartbeat in their time. They hunted, fished, built homes and villages and lived here before anybody else. They are a part of that land we love so much. They ought to be the faithful stewards of that land, not us. So, let us enjoy Algonquin, but with a sober knowledge, and respect that our use of the park came with a great cost to many, many families who were displaced at the hands of people just like you and me.

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