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Queen Elizabeth II’s Passing Met with Wide-Ranging Reactions

Tansi Nîtôtemtik,


The passing of the Queen has been met with extremely varied reactions, ranging from mourning, to hope, to indifference, to celebration, and everything in-between.


Part of the reason for such wide-ranging reactions may be due to the fact that, although she was just a human like the rest of us, she was also the face of the monarchy, the longstanding head of state, and an international symbol of the Crown. Her position in the monarchy meant that to many, she was an influential leader, matriarch, and representation of female power.[1]


Photo Credit: The Canadian Press/Peter Bregg https://theconversation.com/the-death-of-queen-elizabeth-canada-became-less-british-during-her-reign-170854


Her position in the monarchy also meant that she was part of the elitist, wealthy, and privileged few, with a disproportionate concentration of power. While some may look at her long life and think she has done a great job in her role as Queen, others may feel that her influence, privilege, and power could have been put to greater use, or that her legacy speaks of more harm done than good. The Queen may be viewed by some as not only the face of the monarchy and the Crown, but also the face of colonization and cultural genocide in Canada, and around the world.


When the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Crown began in Canada, it was supposed to be one of respect and importance, and to be based around peaceful coexistence and sharing the land.[2] Instead, the relationship has been strained time and time again, as the Crown has let down Indigenous peoples, stolen lands, created oppressive and racist legislation, and failed to fulfill Treaty promises.[3]


Regardless of one’s feelings surrounding the Queen’s passing, her death can be an opportunity for deeper reflection on the relationship between Canada and the monarchy, and an opportunity for real change. Many are calling for the Royal Family to acknowledge and apologize for the harms they have caused, and for not using their power and influence to stop the harms that have continued against Indigenous children, families, and communities as a result of assimilationist government policies in Canada.[4] Others are looking ahead, and feel that the main focus now should be the “next seven generations, the future, and how we are going to progress” from where we are now.[5]


The Queen’s passing can be a chance to reflect on what we need to see from the monarchy – whether it be apologies, reparations, actions towards reconciliation – or to decide whether the monarchy should still hold a vital role in Canada at all.[6]


Until next time,

Team Reconcili-ACTION YEG


[1] “Indigenous people in Canada conflicted over death of Queen Elizabeth II” (16 September 2022), online: Indian Country Today <Indigenous people in Canada conflicted over death of Queen Elizabeth II - ICT (indiancountrytoday.com)>. [2] “With death of Queen Elizabeth, Indigenous people reflect on often difficult relationship with the Crown” (11 September 2022), online: CBC News <https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/first-nations-relationship-with-crown-1.6578321>. [3] “Indigenous groups share condolences after death of Queen Elizabeth, but colonial past leaves some conflicted” (8 September 2022), online: CBC News <Indigenous groups share condolences after death of Queen Elizabeth, but colonial past leaves some conflicted | CBC News>. [4] “Local Indigenous leaders reflect on Queen's complicated legacy” (10 September 2022), online: CBC News <Local Indigenous leaders reflect on Queen's complicated legacy | CBC News>. [5] Supra note 2. [6] Supra note 3; “Mass adoration for Queen Elizabeth overshadows Indigenous survivors’ trauma: ‘It hurts’” (15 September 2022), online: Global News <Mass adoration for Queen Elizabeth overshadows Indigenous survivors’ trauma: ‘It hurts’ | Globalnews.ca>.

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