Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday September 30, 2022
King Charles: Will the monarchy move reconciliation forward in Canada?
Earlier this year, at a reception in Canada’s national capital, King Charles – at the time the Prince of Wales – was asked for an apology.
The request came from Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald, who told him that the Crown needs to make amends for the “assimilation and genocide” of indigenous schoolchildren at residential schools run by the Anglican Church – of which Charles is now the head – and for its role in colonisation.
The three-day visit was Charles’s nineteenth official tour in the country, and his last as the Prince of Wales.
Charles did not apologise on the trip, though he spoke of the need to “come to terms with the darker and more difficult aspects” of history.
But some are hopeful that the new King’s accession will be the beginning of a more positive relationship between the Crown and indigenous peoples in Canada.
Around the world, Commonwealth nations, including Canada, are grappling with what the role of the monarchy following Queen Elizabeth’s death, and what her son, Charles, should do to make amends for colonialism.
In Canada, the King’s accession comes amid a national conversation about reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
It is a conversation that has been building for years, but came to the forefront last summer as First Nations came forward with evidence of the discovery of unmarked graves on the sites of former residential schools – government-funded institutions established in the 1800s that were part of a former policy to assimilate indigenous children.
For Canada, reconciliation is multi-faceted. In addition to a royal apology, many have called on the Crown to return indigenous artefacts that were removed and taken to Britain, and to play a more active role in honouring historic treaty relationships between the monarchy and indigenous people.
These treaties are constitutionally recognised agreements that define the rights and responsibilities between indigenous groups and federal and provincial governments. Treaties with the Crown date back to the 1700s, and negotiating modern treaties is seen as an important part of reconciliation.
Cree writer and former treaty negotiator Darrel J McLeod argued in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper earlier this month that Queen Elizabeth failed to use the resources available to her to make amends for things done in the Crown’s name – from issuing formal apology to the repatriation of indigenous artefacts.
He said he hoped the King will “have the insight and determination to accomplish what his mother wasn’t able to and use whatever time that might remain for the Windsor dynasty’s role in Canada to turn things around”.
Canada was a monarchy even before it was a country. Over 500 years ago, both French and British monarchs presided over colonies in Canada.
The connection between the Crown and indigenous peoples dates back even further, to when Europeans first set foot on the continent. (BBC)
From sketch to finish, see the current way Graeme completes an editorial cartoon using an iPencil, the Procreate app, and a couple of cheats on an iPad Pro …