At today’s service, the topic of discussion was the reconciliation and healing within Canada with our aboriginal people. Today was indeed the 20th anniversary of the Presbyterian Church in Canada’s confession of its role in residential schools. I learned what an important step this was for aboriginals and for the church, in coming to terms with the wrongs that were committed, so that all could move forward with confidence in a future where such injustices won’t take hold again.
Much attention was focused today on the legacy of residential schools, a dark and sad chapter in our country’s history. This was also part of the church school lesson for the children. I joined my kids to hear a story, told through the eyes of a modern aboriginal child. The story was of his older relative’s experience with residential schools. I walked away with the strong feeling that telling such stories is important, not to assign blame or guilt, but to promote understanding, and ensure all of us understand the impacts this era had.
Reconciliation is a building block. It will help the next generations – both aboriginal and non-aboriginal – to have an understanding of our shared history and a mutual respect for culture, language and tradition. And it will help our young people to recognize the potential each one of them has, regardless of their background or upbringing, to not only succeed for themselves, but to pass that success on to the generations that come after.