Sunday marked the end of Truth and Reconciliation week in B.C., one of the more meaningful attempts by Canada to understand and confront the multi-generational impact of the residential school system on First Nations people.
For decades, children were stolen from their parents' arms, had their culture beaten out of them and were sent out into the world without the basic advantages that come with a proper upbringing.
Many were made aware of schools such as St. Paul's Indian Residential School through Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh members who had first-hand experience. The City of North Vancouver chipped in for a memorial. Judging by the lack of knowledge, the monument is clearly needed.
This summer we, as a country, also learned about the hugely unethical and dehumanizing experiments conducted on First Nations children without consent. This is on top of the already well-known abuse - physical, emotional and sexual.
Clearly the truth part of truth and reconciliation is still emerging.
As for reconciliation, it's hard to atone for the lasting and damaging sins of colonialism, but it's the task we now have. It is clear the task is still only beginning. There is, however, a remarkable resilience demonstrated by the recent First Nations generations, not raised in the residential school system, but struggling and succeeding to rise above the abuse and break the vicious cycles it spawned.
This is cause for great hope while we reflect on the great wrongs of the past.
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