Just a couple of weeks back, me and a whole bunch of family decided to pass the Canada day weekend in Saskatoon. Over my lifetime, I have made countless trips to the city where we still have a lot of family (on my mom's side). It also has pertinent relevance in my immediate family, as it was the place where my parents met and got married. During a stint of living in Canada, my parents lived there and it was there where my sister was born.
But for whatever reason going there this time to spend Canada Day weekend, I just suddenly felt the weight and importance of the place in my own life. I guess it started with the small fact of when we got to the city and my great uncle and aunt's place, one of the first things I wanted to do was situated myself. I quickly opened my phone and figured out where we were in location to the rest of the city. Now I could brush this off by simply stating that it was only now with a smartphone and GPS on it that made it easy and a mindless task to know exactly where I was. But I had been to here multiple times before, most recently in 2013 (well within the smartphone and GPS age) and only now had I had the desire to locate myself.
Locating myself within the place where I was staying would once again come to the forefront in my thoughts when we would take a trip to Warren, Saskatchewan. This is great my maternal grandparents and Uncle are buried. Once again I had done the trip many times before but it all held a new weight. We also decided to find and locate the Boschman cemetery. As we crossed the South Saskatchewan river I realized that my great great grandfather had operated this ferry many many years ago.
For so long I have held off on the fact that, while I hold a Canadian passport, I'm not "those" Canadians whose family history dates back a fair bit into Canadian history. I could almost believe that with both my grandparents on my paternal side and my maternal grandparent emigrating after World War II. The whole concept of a family history entwined with a larger and perhaps problematic narrative of Canadian history was just something that I didn't want to think about.
I think this idea to almost forget this was really perhaps a subconscious way of not really owning my past and my relationship to this country of Canada. All of this over the weekend of both celebrating and protesting Canada 150.
This feeling of celebration and protestation also existed within myself, seeing and understanding the reasons and emotions on both sides. Now add in this knowledge that my family history is intertwined with this country's history.
Oh, what am I going to do with all this?