Inquisitive About Indigenous – By Bob Will

Bob Will is a guest contributor this week.

Indigenous Curiosity

As a delegation of First Nations travel to the Vatican, I can’t help but feel how ignorant and uninformed I am over issues pertaining to our country’s first inhabitants.

When I first heard of the lost lives in residential schools, it was a real wake up call. I feel so ashamed that out great, kind, prosperous country could be capable of such a shameful act. I regret that when I was in public school, we would have been taught more Indigenous history – lessons about our native people, what the different tribes names were, about the way they lived, how they survived our harsh winters.

It would be interesting about their way of lifelong before Europeans arrived. What could our country be like if our forefathers learned to speak their language and incorporated many words and phrases into our English and French.

I believe the language in South Africa is a combination of Dutch and Western German called Afrikaans. Perhaps there is some Zulu included. Australian English uses many words from Aboriginal languages, with over 500 terms from more than 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, so why wouldn’t we have done the same?

It would be nice to say “please”, “thank you”, “hello” and “goodbye”, to name a few.

I would like to know more about our indigenous  people and be more aware of their needs and issues. It’s an embarrassment to think that any reserve would not have clean water. I wish I would have been taught more about our original inhabitants.

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