"As I mused, the fire burned"

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

Truth and Reconciliation Internet Resources

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I will post in short order a set of internet resources for those interested in the TRC, residential schools or aboriginal history in Canada. For now, go to the TRC webpage for more information.

This link is to the TRC resource page which provides a host of further links.

Finally, if you wish to volunteer to support this historic and essential event, you can apply here.

I’ll also put up further musings in the days to come.

There is a fundamental problem in the federal government’s approach to the reconciliation process…one that is at odds with aboriginal sensibilities in what reconciliation really means.  I will explore this from a Christian perspective, because there are striking parallels between the biblical idea of reconciliation and the aboriginal idea of reconciliation – both are focused on the restoration or right relationship in community, so that both the offender and the offended may live and journey together.

This is at odds with the government approach, which is struck within a European legal context.  The government wants certainty and finality, and so the damage settlements have been fixed, and the funding for the TRC is equally concrete.  The government wants an end date that can be placed on a Gantt chart as the final milestone after which the prime minister can stand at a press conference and say (like Bush), “Mission accomplished”.

What the aboriginal peoples seek is a restoration of the relationship established at first contact – that of two equals journeying together, in community.  Community means the two travellers share in both the good times and the hard times of the journey.  Decision-making is consultative, not unilateral, and disputes are resolved through discussion and community, not the courts.  The mission of reconciliation, by definition, will never be at an end.

Unfortunately, that is not what has been established by the government.  There is a real possibility that aboriginal survivors of the res schools, and others, will be re-traumatized by the sudden end to the reconciliation process that will come this year after the Edmonton event in March.  Injury that amassed over multiple generations of impaired relationship, will not be repaired over a fraction of a lifetime, nor will it be sated by throwing money at the problem.

Reconciliation, as we know as Christians, is not a one-time event.  Rather reconciliation involves a commitment to a life-long focus on living in right relationship.

At a recent training event I met a Christian couple from BC.  At break he related to me how they had established a friendship with a woman from the local reserve, through their children.  He explained how they were first treated with some suspicion on the reserve, but now their friend introduced them as her friends, and they were experiencing acceptance in her community.  This process had taken years of visits and sharing, breaking bread together, and helping with the task of child-rearing, but now he said, they felt like they had established a true friendship.  That is the example of true reconciliation, when settler and native can sit and break bread, sharing in the journey and providing mutual support.  That is the image of what is really needed in Canada, not more government programs, but a willingness on behalf of all people: white, red and in-between, to step outside those lines and to build relationship with others.

More to come later.



Written by sameo416

January 27, 2014 at 10:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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