I have been transfixed by the finding of the 215 remains of children in Kamloops.
I have been impacted by the number and the stories associated with these children, the callous disregard for them as human beings and their place in the family.
Here in Alberta, there were 25 residential schools. I understand they all have recognized graveyards. How many of our current public schools have graveyards? What is wrong with this picture?
It is too easy for me to be frozen into inaction. Or to want to do something, anything, to show my outrage. How can I help hold the responsible organizations to account?
I took a deep breath and realized it isn’t always about me, especially now.
I need to listen to the Indigenous people most directly affected. They are not a uniform group. They have different ways of needing to respond. Some residential schools have already been destroyed by fire or otherwise don’t exist. Some have been repurposed as museums or places of learning. I need to stop, listen and support Indigenous people. They have heard from others for generations about what they should do in many controversial events. It’s my turn to listen.
I know that statues are toppling, and signs are coming down or covered up pending a more formal name change. Schools and neighbourhoods are considering changing names.
I reminded myself to stop and listen first.
These needed changes will not result in any Indigenous person being better off. They won’t have access to fresh drinking water on reserves or be respected by those who have chosen to disrespect them in their hospital bed.
It makes me feel good to at least do something. The considerable risk is I think my job is done. Reparations and reconciliation is a torch of responsibility that I need to carry and likely will need to hand off to my children to hopefully complete.
My bumper sticker: ‘If I don’t know better, learn. When I know better, do better.’
Here are two beginnings I’ve found for me to make a lasting impact.
First, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has 94 ‘Calls for Action.‘
Second, here is a list of ‘individual acts of reconciliation’ that I’m working my way through.
Please give this bit of a think. Follow the link to find 150 individual acts of reconciliation. You probably have done some of these already. Surprise yourself. Now pick one suggestion you haven’t done, and commit to completing it by a specific date.
I’m curious about your thoughts. Please leave me your comment.
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And my thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this Blog possible.