Some people think it’s better forgotten, but we don’t agree.
Forgiven, yes, when necessary. Forgotten, no.
George Santayana famously tells us “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and it is an aphorism that has proven only too true time and time again.
But it’s not just the bad stuff that we wish to avoid repeating that we should keep in the collective consciousness.
Wars and the reasons for them, unintentional mistakes or hubris that has led to disasters, the way evil on the rise can seem innocuous when viewed in its constituent pieces, but take on the dimensions of a monster when viewed as a whole (Hitler/extreme nationalism etc.) — these are well worth keeping our eyes open for and vigilant against.
But there’s a lot of good stuff, too, that can bring hope when dark times descend.
Successes of the past are just as important to learn from to build a better tomorrow.
It’s all too easy to sink into apathy created by the notion that things as they are not only won’t change, but can’t change.
It is history that tells us differently.
Solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems have been found. Rights have been won. People do care.
That’s why events like Heritage Days continue to hold meaning.
When we know our history it helps us to feel part of a whole. It binds us further together as we look towards the future as a collective community.
It’s only by understanding both the good and bad of that past that we can build what’s next.
These are our stories.
Important and colourful people, who once lived and breathed, hoped and dreamed, much as we do.
We are, every day, making new history for ourselves.
Last week Chief Cyril Livingstone died, passing into memory, having left behind a legacy with both his people of the Lake Cowichan First Nation and the greater Cowichan Lake communities of which they are a part.
He will be missed, and he will be remembered.
Our communities are still working out how we move forward from our history with First Nations. We are determined that the future will be better than the past.
But we cannot get there if we don’t learn the lessons the past has to teach us. Most of all that the days to come can bring good things, if we first dare to dream them, then work them into reality.