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Special Edition Newsletter

Speaking Our Truth by Monique Gray Smith

So...why do we need to go on a journey of reconciliation?

Until the last few years, most Canadians knew very little about Residential schools. Young people were not taught about them in school, and in many cases neither were your parents or grandparents. Some people had never even heard about them. But for over 150 years, Indigenous children were taken from their homes and placed in Residential Schools.

 You might wonder how this could happen in our country. Well, a lot of it had to do with systemic racism. Laws and government policies were passed that allowed Indian Agents (who worked for what was then called the Department of Indian Affairs) and the RCMP to take children as young as five years old away from everyone they loved and everything that was familiar and important to them. They were taken from their families, homes and communities and away from their land, culture and language. If parents or families attempted to stop this, they could be arrested, and the children were still taken.

Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people has suffered as a result of Residential Schools, as well as other legislative decisions. Healing and repairing this relationship requires education, awareness, empathy, and an increased understanding of the Residential School legacy. 

To prepare for this journey we need: a willingness to listen and to have meaningful conversation with others, curiosity, openness,  and an ability to reflect on difficult things.

Speaking Our Truth ( A Journey of Reconciliation) Monique Gray Smith




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