An Iroquois resident, representing about 20 people, appeared at South Dundas council Monday night to lobby for the Indigenous symbol on the Iroquois water tower to be returned once renovations are complete. This was discussed at great length twice before, and council decided both times that only the town names and South Dundas logo will be featured on its two water towers, effectively removing the dated logos from both.
However, here we are again rehashing the same debate.
Using any symbol of a cultural group in a manner that may be deemed offensive to people of that culture is never the right thing to do.
A delegation of people from outside that culture pushing to justify keeping a symbol that does not belong to them is entirely inappropriate. Who gave this delegation the right to take a symbol that does not belong to them, that does not represent them, and use it in this manner?
In recent years large corporations, sports teams and more have gotten away from the misuse of cultural names and symbols. If they recognize it is no longer okay for them, why would we still think it’s okay for our community?
We don’t need Indigenous people to tell us this is wrong, for it to be wrong.
The final report of the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada said that, “reconciliation begins with each and every one of us.” How can we feel like we are doing our part if we let this symbol return to a place of prominence over our largely non-Indigenous community?
The name of the village, not that depiction, aptly pays homage to our community’s history without risking offence.
While this stance may seem a bit harsh, considering those fighting for this cause say the are doing so from a place of respect and honour, the harsher reality is that every time we rehash this debate we are hurting ourselves and our community today and tomorrow.
The tone of the delegation to council was divisive with its implication that only Iroquois’ residents opinions matter in this debate. Many people living in South Dundas, but not directly in that village, have opinions and views that matter just as much as those living in town. That water tower serves as a welcome sign to our South Dundas community to anyone arriving here. This is not a positive reflection of what we want South Dundas to be in 2021, and in the future.