There is a lot of talk about the Indigenous people and the Canada150.
All countries are made up of a sum of all the parts of its parts, the good, the bad, and the reprehensible. The residential school was ONE of the MOST reprehensible things that Canada has done in our long history!
Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools established to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Children were taken from their homes to live in schools, which disrupted their family life. The whole atmosphere was negative. Everything from not knowing the language of the lessons to inadequate food and clothing that was provided, to the most horrific: sexual abuse and even death.
An estimated 150,000 First Nation, Inuit, and Métis children attended residential schools
In 2006, the government reached a $2 billion settlement, the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history. I can only assume that the government actually paid this!?
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was officially launched in 2008 as part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA). Despite major setbacks and difficulty, after six years, the TRC completed its mandate. It held national events, conducted hearings across the country, as well as public outreach activities. It established commemoration markers and works of art. The Commission closed in June of 2015 having accumulated almost 7000 personal survivor statements. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) houses these records and other documents, along with being responsible continuing education and research.
A sincere apology goes a long way in my book. And by sincere, I mean, an apology that is accepted by the person(s) who were hurt. In this case, by most indigenous people and not just a white person saying that it is good enough apology.
On June 12, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered a long-anticipated apology to tens of thousands of Indigenous people who, as children, were taken from their families and sent to residential schools, as part of official government policy to "kill the Indian in the child."
In May of 2015, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne officially apologized to Ontario's Indigenous communities for the decades of mistreatment of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.
An apology doesn’t make everything go away. There is nothing that anyone can do to change the past. There is still so much to be done BUT it is a START. And that must be acknowledged!
But as Justice Murray Sinclair says, “Canada must move from apology to action.” True words.
As for me, I am a proud Canadian- the good with the bad.
If I were rich, I would buy an airplane and routinely deliver free food to the Indigenous people way up north so they don’t have to pay $19 for a melon. I would also open up a women’s shelter and a dog rescue – but that is a different story!
Me? Canadian, writer, RN, crafter, Girl Guide Leader, Red Hatter, 3-dog owner, photographer, geocacher, cool Mom, and all around FUN and FUNNY person!
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