Today was Canada’s first national day for Truth and Reconciliation, and it was a heavy day. It wasn’t a day to just relax and take a holiday, but rather a day to reflect on our country’s dark history, to hear from survivors of Residential Institutions, and to consider what reconciliation means.
We talked to Astrid today about the origin of the orange shirt and a little bit about why residential schools were so bad. I don’t want to scare her into thinking schools are scary places but I think it’s important she understand that Indigenous kids were taken away from their parents and bad things were done. As she gets older she can learn more about the racist attitudes that allowed our governments and religious institutions to justify the horrible things it did.
I spent the morning hearing from Chief Ray Gerow from the Wet’suwet’en First Nation & Dr. Judith Sayers of the Nuu-Cha-Nulth Tribal Council. It was an honest conversation that covered a lot of topics, but the parts that stuck with me were about the intergenerational trauma that the residential schooling system created. I won’t try to retell their stories, but you can hear similar stories if you look online.
In the evening, we did drumming in the courtyard with our own local elder Aline, who we are blessed to have in our building. She brings so much wisdom and compassion to our community.
After spending a day reflecting on truth and reconciliation, my mind naturally goes to what can we do to fix things. Some of the reconciliation steps that I think are important are:
- Supporting the 94 calls to action from the TRC
- Giving First Nations’ land back and self determination
- Renaming schools and streets named after racist settlers
I donated my salary for today to the Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Fund. It’s a small gesture, but hopefully it does some good.