Canadian citizenship oath could help newcomers learn more about Indigenous people
June 18, 2021
Sharon Nyangweso says she first heard of Indigenous people in Canada when she was eight years old. Her family had just moved to Canada for her mother’s job at the Kenya High Commission in Ottawa. At one of the gatherings, a guest approached her mom upon learning they just arrived in the city.
What happened next stuck with Nyangweso.
The person told her mom to avoid Rideau Street because Indigenous people were there and “they were always drunk.” This memory unsettles her to this day, because the comment came not from a naturalized Canadian, but from someone in her own circle.
“That came from another immigrant,” she said in a telephone interview Thursday. “Not just another immigrant, but one that had intimate knowledge of what it meant to be part of a colonized nation.”
Nyangweso said there’s a wide gap when it comes to dissemination of information to immigrants about Indigenous Peoples and cultures in Canada. One that, she said, causes the perpetuation of misconceptions resulting from the country’s history of colonialism.