A Momentous Event in Edmonton

Truth and Reconciliation Commission:  Alberta National Event

Edmonton Shaw Conference Centre March 27-30, 2014

A momentous event is taking place in Edmonton. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is holding the seventh and final national gathering to hear from and honour survivors of Indian Residential Schools.

This gathering will take place at the Shaw Conference Centre from Thursday of this week right through Sunday. There is no formal registration and the event is free. You can find all the details at:

http://www.trc.ca/websites/alberta/index.php?p=766

The descriptions, times and places of all of the activities (sharing circles, panels, films, traditional ceremonies, discussions and dialogues, expressions of reconciliation) can be found in a downloadable program on the main website.

Until very recently most Canadians did not know the truth of the Indian Residential Schools. They did not know that over a period of 116 years about 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were taken, forcibly if necessary, from their homes, from loving parents, grandparents, extended families and communities to schools far away from their homes. That would have been bad enough but, in fact, the purpose of the schools was to break the connection of the children to their cultures, languages, traditions and spiritual beliefs, to “take the Indian out of them”. And there was more. The children were abused physically, psychologically and sometimes sexually. They were malnourished and lived in crowded, ill-kept schools. They died of TB, flu, and other illnesses, as well as from accidents.

This is a dark part of our history that we did not know until recently. I think it is hard for us to admit that in Canada such horrifying things were done to young children. Some people wish to deny that it happened. That is understandable, but it is not right. Now we can listen to the survivors, we can honour their suffering, we can work together to heal and reconcile our communities. In the final gathering this week (Mar 27-30), there will be sharing circles at different times every day, over the four-day period.

By attending we also honour the First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities’ incredible strength, fortitude and ability to survive.

More information about the TRC can be found at the links below:

What is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission? http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=3

Truth and Reconciliation Commission FAQ http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=10

 

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One thought on “A Momentous Event in Edmonton

  1. For an example of what seeking truth and striving for reconciliation looks like from one person’s point of view, read Aaron Paquette’s eloquent artist’s statement. Paquette’s name is probably familiar to you. There have been stories in the news lately about the beautiful mural he has created for the Grandin LRT Station in Edmonton. Here’s the whole story: http://www.aaronpaquette.net