Dear First Canadians,
We Canadians have been called “Peacekeepers”. We used to go into countries where the trust of other peoples was profoundly demonstrated. I’ve been proud of that. And now, after listening to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, I’m gobsmacked. I DIDN’T KNOW! God, my fellow First Nations countrypeople! I didn’t know!
How could leaders of THIS supposedly gentle country initiate and/or support anything so horrific as Residential Schools? How could they ignore what was REALLY going on – and lie for so long?
How could the people running those cruel and abusive places – the ones who are RESPONSIBLE for preaching PEACE and LOVE of humankind – how could they ignore what they and their colleagues were doing? Letting it happen was just as criminal as doing these unbelievable deeds of dehumanization.
As a Canadian, I sit here in tears. I’m so sorry, First Nations. I’ve been your neighbour and I’ve worked with you. As a child, your women brought me soft handmade mukluks trimmed with fur so I could feel the experience of running barefoot through snow. You showed me your intricate beadwork and laughed at my attempt to mimic your dances. I’ve been accepted in your homes, shared your food, learned about your culture and wallowed in my welcome – as a child and on into my adulthood. I was there without knowing. I’m ashamed that it’s taken this long for me to HEAR and UNDERSTAND this travesty.
While with you, gentle and generous people, some of you *referred* to the effects of this abomination and some actually highlighted the value of your parents receiving a good start to on-going education. Now I suspect you didn’t know the full story – that your parents were protecting them from the horrors they experienced.
Not knowing the depth of suffering, I’ve actually prayed that those who couldn’t seem to move forward would find the strength to do so.
Canada, our back yard needs tending. It needs compassion, love, healing and patience. NOW.
Thank you, Truth and Reconciliation Commission for bringing the hope for Amazing Grace. It’s only just begun. If you watch the video, know there are First Nations people living, learning, loving and leading in each of these landscapes.