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Truth and Reconciliation

Today is the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s summary report, which at a substantive 300 pages will still pale in comparison to the 1,200 page full report that will be released later this year. At the moment, I have only managed to read the summaries from various news sources so far, but I am making a personal commitment to read the summary, as well as the larger report when it comes out later this year.

The summary report released today includes a large number of recommendations that we would do well to pay attention to. I was struck by this statement from Chief Justice Murray Sinclair:

“Non-aboriginal Canadians hear about the problems faced by aboriginal communities but they have almost no idea how those problems developed. This has left most Canadians with the view that aboriginal people were and are to blame for the situations in which they find themselves as though there were no external cause.”Chief Justice Murray Sinclair

I for one, being raised in Calgary, under what I still consider to be a very effective educational system, never learned about Residential Schools. Granted, while many of them had been closed by the time I was in my teens, I had no concept that they even existed. This is something I want my daughter and son to learn about. If we are ever to move forward as a nation, and as Christian denomination that had a hand in this, we need to learn about the dark parts of our own history. If reconciliation is going to happen, we need to come to terms with our own past.

It is true that the United Church, as well as the Presbyterian and Anglican Churches have issued apologies for our respective roles in what happened. It shows the dangers of what can happen when faith communities cede their identities and sense of mission to the desires of the state.

It is my prayer that as we move forward with this, that we open up this history for everyone to learn, that it may never be repeated.

Note: the picture I’ve included is “Easter 1985” by west coast artist Roy Henry Vickers.

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