The First Federal Truth and Reconciliation Day in Canada

Good morning friends.

Today I want to share a post written by my husband about this important day. I couldn’t have said it better:

Today we remember those who survived Canada’s Residential Schools, and we mourn those who did not survive. We support the uncovering and sharing of the truths, and honour the process of reconciliation here in Canada.

In 1983, I was 11 and was attending the 50th memorial dinner for the Holodomor, the Terror Famine endured by Ukrainians under Soviet rule in 1932-33. The image that has been etched in my memory since that day is a black and white image of a starving child I saw in the documentary film screened that night- ribs showing, belly distended from fluid, and the gaunt look, like someone who is fighting cancer. The suffering that was endured by this child and many, breaks my heart. I am sure that most would echo that sentiment.

There is nothing more unjust than the suffering of a child. The suffering of these children, and their families who lost them. The children that met their deaths in the residential schools were robbed of life and those that survived were robbed of their innocence and hope. These atrocities will be remembered, and we must be vigilant in teaching, and leading by example, that anything like this should not be repeated ever again. We must repair the damage. The truth must and will be told. Children are our future. Children are our greatest blessings and their innocence and hope must be protected. Today on National Truth and Reconciliation Day we are just starting that journey.

Our Indigenous community settled this land first. They paved the way for the rest of us to enjoy the amazing country that we live in, and they were used and abused. That is a Fact. That is the Truth.

This day especially strikes a cord in our family because our mission in our new podcast and blog with our family project Love Chaos Blessings, is to protect the LOVE that brought families together, give them tools to navigate the CHAOS of life and relish in the BLESSINGS that we enjoy as a family.

I am sure most parents would agree, children are the greatest blessing! The cuddles, the quirky personalities, the inspiration they are, how much they teach us and their zest for life are the just some of the many blessings our children really are.
We can, we must, ensure this never happens again, accept the truth, and repair the damage. What can you do? Read below.

Dionysius & The David Family

*Photo by Stephanie Lucile Photography

For more information on the schools:

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/residential-schools

https://reconciliationcanada.ca/about/history-and-background/background/

https://www.kamloopsthisweek.com/local-news/read-the-truth-and-reconciliation-commission-of-canadas-final-report-4448533

For more information on Indigenous cultures in Canada:

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/timeline/first-nations

 

What can we do?

Quoting John Wort Hamman:

“How do I voice my outrage, my dismay and my sorrow about the discovery that supports the stories told for decades by residential school survivors – there are bodies of Indigenous children laying in unmarked graves in the gardens and orchards of Canada’s residential schools?” But more importantly, I have been asking myself, “What can I ‘do’?”

It’s simply not enough for us non indigenous people to turn our social media profile pics orange. It’s simply not enough to leave our lights on in memory. It’s simply not enough to just feel uncomfortable for a little while. There are things we non-Indigenous people can do beyond small symbolic gestures to influence change, real change. If you, too, feel heartbroken over this, join me by doing some of the following. We owe it to ourselves and our children to improve our relationship with Indigenous people on both a societal and a personal level. We owe it to those indigenous people who survived and those kids who didn’t.

1. Write, call, or email your MP and demand that the federal government fund all five Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls To Action number 72-76. These are the Calls To Action that ensure Canada works with Indigenous communities to locate their missing loved ones and the unmarked burial places in a culturally informed way.

2. Sign the petition demanding a National Day of Mourning for the Lost Children of Residential School. Go here to do that: https://www.change.org/p/justin-trudeau-call-for-a-national-day-of-mourning-for-the-lost-children-of-residential-school

3. Put your money where your heart is. Support the organizations that make a difference to survivors and their relations. I have donated some money to each of the three organizations listed below. If you can afford to donate some too, any amount, I urge you to do so.

4. Lastly, and definitely most important, let’s get educated and teach our children the truth. For years I have taught my son the true history of Britain, France and Canada’s failed relationship with Indigenous people. It’s not the history I learned in Grade 8 Social Studies. The truth is the purpose of all government policies was and is to eradicate the “Problem of the Indian”. So to the best of my ability as a Settler, I tell my son what really happened and continues to happen to Indigenous people. I tell him about the broken promises, the military massacres, reserves and the Pass system, unfulfilled treaties, the 60’s Scoop, diseased blankets, eugenics, and the forced disenfranchisement and assimilation laid out in the Indian Act.

 

FREE University of Alberta – Indigenous Canada Course

University of Alberta Native Studies Department offers a FREE online course titled Indigenous Canada. It is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Go to https://www.coursera.org/learn/indigenous-canada to sign up for this free online course.