What now, after residential schools?

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The damage done to Indigenous people by Canada’s residential schools has been cruelly re-emphasized by the discovery of the bodies of 215 children in unmarked graves at the old Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Having been so reminded, where do we all go from here? What do we do now?

We cannot speak for the survivors whose lives were shattered by the residential school system, or for the families of those who died or disappeared as a result of the schools.

We urge people to listen carefully and respectfully and sympathetically to those survivors and those families who are speaking out now.

We urge people, too, to read the findings and reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).Start, perhaps, with this report: What We Have Learned: Principles of Truth and Reconciliation.

And we urge you to tell your MP and MLA to support the implementation of the 94 TRC Calls to Action.

We also urge people to support the inclusion in school curricula across Canada of teaching on the residential schools and related topics, as proposed by the Canadian School Boards Association.

Indeed, that could and should be expanded to teaching on the history and experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

As BC Premier John Horgan says: “It would start by ensuring that our K-to-12 system does a comprehensive job of telling the story of Canada, not with rose-coloured glasses, but with the reality which it deserves. I have two degrees in history from two universities and I did not know about the atrocities of residential schools from our public education system.”

We urge people to listen and to learn. We urge people to remember. And let us all aim now for true Reconciliation, and make genuine efforts to bring it about.

We also call upon businesses and organizations to assist by contributing to education or economic sustainability initiatives as outlined in the TRC Calls to Action.

The First Nations LNG Alliance was founded to support responsible development of liquefied natural gas, and to support those Nations that have chosen to endorse and partner in such development. We thus note the finding of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Ottawa’s historic plan to “gain control over” Indigenous land and resources.

Let that be truly replaced by truly “Free, Prior and Informed Consent”, and true First Nations partnership in, or ownership of, LNG and other resource developments.

(Posted here 10 June 2021)

First Nations LNG Alliance Newsletter