Affirmation to include Treaty Rights

Press release about one of the 150+ community projects for Canada Day.


For Immediate Release

Make an Affirmation to Canada Inclusive of Treaty Rights

The Kootenay Gallery is organizing a community project this summer called 150+ Creative Acts. One community member, Shemmaho Goodenough has created a unique project and is hoping for your participation on Canada Day in Millennium Park. She will be on stage at 3:15 to lead a special process that you can read more about below. Here are Shemmaho’s own words:

“Last year on Canada Day I watched the Festivities on TV.  While watching the live stream from Victoria I felt an upwelling of gratitude for Canada and my good luck in becoming a citizen here.  In 1968 I was bound for a hard-scrabble life in the Arkansas Ozarks when I got a letter from a friend who had emigrated to B.C.  He talked about eating canned cherries from local trees with home-made yogurt;  I decided then and there we were moving to Canada.  My husband and I worked to buy a truck and create a nest egg in order to start a new life in Canada.  We emigrated at the Nelway border crossing in May, 1970, and I have lived in the Kootenays ever since.

On the same Canada Day, I heard a talk by Wally Opel who suggested we reaffirm our Oath of Citizenship as a way of strengthening our resolve to support Canada’s liberal democracy with its principles of multiculturalism and diversity.  A fire was lit in my heart and mind.  I wanted to do that!  But how?  With whom?  When and where?  These questions were answered as I talked with Maggie about the 150 plus project being developed by KGA.  The two streams of my project, expressing gratitude and affirming citizenship meet at the confluence on Canada Day, as we symbolically state the oath below at Millennium Park.

The preamble of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission states, “In order to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada makes 94 calls to action.”  The 94th Call to Action states:  “We call upon the Government of Canada to replace the Oath of Citizenship with the following:

‘I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada including Treaties with Indigenous Peoples, and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen’ .”  This Oath for new citizens is suggested as part of education for Canadians, both naturalized and born here.  I hope you will join me on Canada Day, at 3:15, in Millennium Park to publically recite this affirmation, thus grounding our support for First Nations Treaty Rights.

I feel privileged to be a part of this country, and like to think I have made an honorable contribution; I know I have had a more peaceful life, and seen my son flourish in a way not possible in my country of origin.”

We hope you will join us in the park on Canada Day and contact the Gallery to find out more about 150+ Creative Acts.



For more information:


Maggie Shirley

Kootenay Gallery of Art


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