As a Canadian, it’s important that I recognize the privilege I’ve had in living on the traditional, ancestral and often unceded territory of First Nations groups. In the past, I’ve lived on the land of the people of Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council in Whitehorse; the Musqueam Indian Band, the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, and the Squamish Nation in Vancouver; as well as the Scia’new First Nation in Victoria. I recognize the need for reconciliation and believe in a Canada that is united not through assimilation, but through cooperation.
First Nations are not the only people I’ve had alongside me. I want to recognize the people of the world as I lived with them during my time at Pearson College UWC. This international experience opened my eyes to the cultural diversity around us, and the vast knowledge that comes through understanding perspectives outside our own. I try to live the mission of the United World College movement: “Make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.”
As a linguistic minority in Canada, I’ve had a firsthand experience of systemic assimilation. I appreciate and understand that discrimination has no place in our future. It is critical that we stand by our principle, and that we stand together.
Finally, I want to recognize the people of a different race, ethnolinguistic group, religion, gender, age, and origin than my own. I know there is a lot to learn from all of you, and I will do my utmost best to live through my personal values of inclusivity, honesty, and doing the moral thing.