Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace


Posted by strattof on December 12, 2013

It is a time for great sorrow. The Making Peace Vigil joins with people the world over in mourning the passing of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

It is also a time for joyous celebration. The legacy of Nelson Mandela lives on, with his name having become a universal symbol of peace, reconciliation, justice, and unyielding resistance. He struggled for all of us.

Nelson Mandela had a dream. He wanted
• to end the brutal racist apartheid system in South Africa; and
• to bring economic justice to the overwhelmingly poor majority of South Africans.

It is a dream for which he was willing to lay down his life. Facing the death penalty, Mandela said at the end of his 1964 trial:

I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

Mandela achieved his dream of defeating apartheid. However, his dream of a country without poverty has not yet been realized. The forces of global capitalism have so far proven too strong. Today, the majority of South Africans are facing the same economic inequality as they did under apartheid. The struggle continues!

South Africa’s apartheid legislation, passed in 1948, was modeled on Canada’s Indian Act, which provided the blueprint for many of its tactics, including its reserve system, used to displace South Africa’s majority population, and the pass system, used to control movement.

When he established South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1995, Mandela asked South Africans to confront together the truth of their history: injustice, oppression, torture, killings. In Canada, we are finally beginning to face some of the darkest chapters of our own history, which include the use of starvation as a method to dispossess Indigenous people and malnourishment experiments on Indigenous children.

Truth is a necessary precondition for reconciliation. But, as Mandela knew, reconciliation also requires justice.

There is no justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada. ●Today, the Canadian government continues to break the Treaty agreements it made with Indigenous peoples. ●Today, a child who attends school on reserve receives 25% less in government funding than other Canadian children. ●Today, 4 in 10 Indigenous children live in poverty.

To live up to Mandela’s legacy, Canada must commit to dismantling structures of privilege and to achieving economic justice for Indigenous peoples by the end of the decade.


Our motto should be: let us make peace so that we can concentrate on the really important work that needs to be done. That is, alleviating the plight of the poor and the defenceless, for as long as most of humanity feels the pain of poverty we all remain prisoners.

While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.

Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.

To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

Reconciliation means working together
to correct the legacy of past injustice.


BOOKS – available at the Regina Public Library

●Arthurson, Wayne. Fall From Grace, 2011 (novel)

●Daschuk, James. Clearing The Plains, 2013 (history)

●Gosse, Richard. Continuing Poundmaker and Riel’s Quest (law)

●King, Thomas. The Inconvenient Indian, 2012 (history)

●Klein, Naomi. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, 2007 (political and economic analysis)

●Wagamese, Richard. Indian Horse 2012 (novel) 

OTHER RESOURCES – available online

●Angus, Charlie. “Four Horses at the Great Divide”: Google “four horses charlie angus u of r press”

●Gebhard, Amanda. “Pipeline to Prison,” BriarPatch Magazine, September-October 2012

●Green, Joyce and Michael Burton. “A Twelve-Step Program for a Post-Colonial Future,” Canadian Dimension, November-December 2013

●Henderson, James Youngblood. Implementing the Treaty Order

●Human Rights Watch. Those Who Take Us Away

●Idle No More, The Manifesto, 2013


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