Why Should Arabs Be Allies to Indigenous People

Nathan Phillips Square's Toronto sign with the Indigenous Medicine Wheel.

Minority groups like the Arab community, and Indigenous peoples are often among the most marginalized and affected communities in societies. It is important now more than ever that Arabs be allies towards Indigenous people.

In both communities, they are looked down upon by majority groups, whether that be excluded in political discussions or participation in socio-economic life, and often encountering obstacles with making their identity known.

Based on the UN Refugee Agency, refugees who are part of minority groups like Middle Easterns, and Indigenous, are likely to be affected by both immediate and long-term effects in colonization. 

Experiencing signficant loss

Indigenous people have experienced the loss of their ancestors, people close to them, family, and friends through colonization.

Similarly, a lot of Palestinians have lost their lives, homes, and families to the Israeli forces occupying, and conquering their land.

This is just the most prevalent example that is brought forward in the current news however what is not brought forward is that every country in the Arab world has a colonization background.

In the Indigenous community, they have a long horrific history of the British and French coming to North America and occupying their land, a place that they called home. There are many horrific cases like raping the women, enforcing religion, genocide, and other horrific acts. 

July 1st

Canada Day is often celebrated to showcase the birth of a new country and a country that all Canadians call home.

Oftentimes, we dismiss the dark history and past that led to its so-called freedom. On Canada Day we celebrate victory, instead of reflecting on the lives that were sacrificed, and the pain that still sits behind the eyes of the indigenous.

This year things need to change, the Indigenous community and other Canadians are speaking up, and not sitting in silence. 

Today is the day we remember those children that didn’t survive Indian Residential Schools

Numerous calls have been made to cancel Canada Day this year because of the findings of potential unmarked graves at former residential schools. This has led to people from the Indigenous community asking all Canadians to reflect instead of celebrating.

Earlier, there were findings at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia where the remains of estimated 215 children were buried at the site.


Just recently, new revelations at the hundreds of unmarked graves at Marieval Indian Residential School at Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan confirm that people will enforce the cancellation of Canada even more. 

Time to educate and be more aware

Arabs are not aware of the rough colonization history that resides among Indigenous communities and people, this is a time to learn.

Indigenous communities in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States of America are worse off by almost any socio-economic indicator than their non-Indigenous compatriots, according to the Parliament of Australia. The New Zealand, Canada, and United States national governments recognized Indigenous land and resource rights at an early date, and have that cater towards anything on that matter.

The Australian Federal Government has not said anything regarding the damage that has been done or any apology for past injustices as recommended by a Human Rights Commission report. The New Zealand government has made apologies twice, and the Canadian government has made specific apologies for its role in the administration of special residential schools. The United States government has apologized for its overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.


Highlighting colonization within Arab world

The majority of Middle Eastern countries face similar issues, In fact, World War I, transformed the Middle East in ways it had not seen ever. The Europeans, who had colonized much of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, completed the takeover with territories in the Middle East like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine.

The boundaries that surround the Middle East are from the war. With World War I, the French and British sent armies into the Middle East to form revolts in the Arabian Peninsula and to seize Iraq, Syria, and Palestine. In the end, Syria and Lebanon went to the French, and the British took over Palestine and three Ottoman provinces of Mesopotamia and created what is known as Iraq today.


Arabs be allies towards Indigenous People

What we are trying to convey here is the similarities that Arabs and Indigenous people have, and how Arabs should be allies to the Indigenous peoples.

Although our histories are not completely the same, they are quite aligned, and we have all had to deal with a great deal of pain and suffering.

This Canada Day, it is best to support the Indigenous people and respect their wishes. It is best if we spend the day, not in celebration of the colonization of the country, but reflecting on the country’s horrific past.

If you have any indigenous friends make sure to check up on them and see if they need a friend to talk to. Together we can all be there for each other in times of need. 

by Mariam Asif – YLT Staff

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