Friday, June 13, 2008

Canada Apologizes...

Such a historic day.

I watched with surprising emotion the proceedings in our nation's Parliament building the other day. I watched as Prime Minister Stephen Harpur stood and apologized over and over for the multitude of sins placed on the heart and soul of our aboriginal people. This included the barbaric removal of children from their families and placing them in Indian residential schools.

The two main objectives of the residential schools were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture. Can you imagine the horror of having your child removed from your home, your care, your arms, because the dominant culture deemed you inferior & unequal???

Indeed, some sought, as it was infamously said, "to kill the Indian in the child."

I remember travelling to Thompson, Manitoba years ago on business and watching as they locked the doors at night to keep the "natives" out of their hotel because of the problems with alcohol and drugs. I also witnessed the palpable tension between the two was uncomfortable and I was in agony listening to how easily people dismissed the Native community. They lived in homes that were barren and cold. I felt their pain and it profoundly affected and changed me. I had never tasted such open discrimination towards a group of people.
Please let us learn from this painful period in our Canadian history. Let us join hands and hearts and work towards healing, respect and love for the true natives of this land.