Thursday, April 8, 2010

Indian Residential School Truth & Reconciliation

The Government has established a Truth & Reconciliation Commission to record what happened to Indians in Canada during the Residential School experiments. The Commission will work for five years on recording stories/experiences from people affected by the Residential School experience.

Justice Judge Murray Sinclair, Head of the Residential School Survivor Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Waiting to get into the offices of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. Chief of Peguis, Glen Hudson waiting like the regular folk. The turnout to the Ribbon cutting was huge. So much people waiting out in the elevator hallway. Even the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs was waiting there for awhile. Lot of big people, both in job status and stature. I hung way back until the crowd was thinned out.

A few quilts are hanging on the walls of the T&RC offices. These quilts have messages from Survivors of the Residential school era. The offices are posh and really impressive as far as offices go. The T&RC is located in the Commodity Exchange Tower building on the famous Portage Avenue and Main Street corner in Winnipeg, Manitoba. A fitting place for a high profile, high costing endeavor.

I missed out on some of the action that took place at the Ribbon cutting ceremony. Seems this old guy from my Reserve started yelling at our Chief at the ceremony. I missed it because I had to go run and put coin into the car's parking meter. I didn't expect to be standing in the hallway of the building for over a hour while the dignitaries spoke. While waiting for the elevator to go back up to the 15th floor, I saw my old boss, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs of the Provincial government. He now has no time to visit and chat with me, but he does "glad-hand" me. That's funny but the way it is now. I am tainted goods and not on his list of useful people. It's the nature of politics. Basically he is a good guy, funny and okay. I may become useful in the future and that will be alright. However, I have no use for the old guy that was yelling at our Chief. This guy is an abuser of children. Sexual abuser. He bothered his own girls. He finally had to face the courts when his girls told on him. They were our friends when we were kids. We didn't know about the sex abuse, we only knew he was real strict and could be mean to his kids. I don't think he can be redeemed for his actions. I know it's judgmental of me to dislike this guy, but I do.

I don't like having such a negative outlook but I do. Just the way it is sometimes. I want to be positive, want to think the best in people, in causes, in organizations, but I can't help but go through the ugliness of looking for the bad.

Like when I was standing around waiting in the hallway, I was thinking of how many jobs are created because of people's suffering. People that were abused, taken away from their parents, beaten for speaking their language, beaten for talking to their sisters, beaten for peeing the bed, beaten for not drinking their milk. I looked around and saw so much White people in the crowd; Dignitaries, bureaucrats, Prosecutors, Counselors, and politicians. There were the Indian equivalents as well.

We have become the same. Our agencies, our organizations, our Social agencies, our political arms all have become cheap imitations (in some cases we are not so cheap)of the White World. We put up the reception desks, we make sure that people are made to wait in the lobby, we put on the suits, we put on the blazer, the suit jacket, the polished shoes, we don't have tea, we don't have time to visit, we are there for the bottom line. We have business to do and that's that. We make sure to look like a special place, a place of professionals, a place of business. After all it is a business. Money is being made, money is being spent. It's the way things have to be. We need to look like the real world in order to be recognized. We need to have the corporate design in our world. We need to fit in. I kind of wonder, isn't that what the Residential Schools were designed to do? Make us like the other world?

I wonder how the T&RC will conduct itself out in the community. They say they are going to go see the people. I wonder if they will go to their homes and sit and have tea in the "homes" of people. I wonder how the people will be treated when they go to the "home" of the T&RC at the Commodity Exchange Towers?


  1. You really speak your mind in your written words. I love it!

  2. The quilts are so nice. I know what you mean about the man who was yelling yet he was abusive to his own children. It is so sad to know grown people are taking advantage of children who only know to turn to adults for their safety. I hope your organizations have not truly become cheap imitations of the white world. The organizations of the white world are sorely lacking in honor and trust.

  3. “ I am here today because my ancestors, starving as they often were, fought to survive. Why did the old people strive to live ... and the young people now want to die?” Aboriginal Suicide Stats, NAN

    I am deeply sorry your son choose to leave this earth journey. My parents believed in reincarnation. I lost my oldest brother that I loved so much...missed so much. One day they told me: You see your youngest brother...he represents your oldest brother.
    I listened to Judge Murray Sinclair at TRC gathering yesterday evening about the effects of residential school. I went to residential school for 10 years and so did 6 of my siblings. Some died before they could attend. Only 1 sibling went to day school...but he left his home also...went to another community so it was just as much of a loss for my parents. Whatever, I was taught in residential school, I have passed on to my children. After years of brainwashing, I came away without any sense of identity; and self loathing, hatred and shame/inferiority because I was 'Indian'. And this is what I have passed onto my children. Today they have lost their mother tongue...and some of my daughters are on a journey with me to regain what was taken away from me at residential school because I want the legacy of what happened in there to stop. I do not want to see my children and their chldren to suffer from what happened to me. If telling my story will help someone else, then it was worth the effort.

  4. Thanks for the comment, It is a hard go sometimes. And it can go on for generations. The to stop it, is to change, I am glad that you are following a path.