I spent the day at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s first national event, here at the Forks in Winnipeg. My heart is full, and — to borrow the expression Marie Wilson, one of the commissioners, used — it’s also “leaking.” The day felt weighty and often emotional. I can only imagine how intense it must have been for the many survivors of the residential school system and their families in attendance.
This event will likely be well covered by the media, so I’m not going to give any kind of journalistic play-by-play but simply a few of my own impressions and experiences.
I’m attending the event in response to the call by the TRC to come and bear witness to the dreadful legacy of the residential school system in Canada, a system set up by the government and implemented through various church groups to “civilize and Christianize” native people by forcible assimilation through education. The intent, stated most bluntly, was to “take the Indian out of Indians.” Continue reading