It is just past midnight as I start to write this post.
July 1st is when I normally celebrate “Canada Day” but today it is a sad and difficult day for me as a Canadian. The revelations of the deaths of so many children at the hands of my fellow Canadians is sickening. That my country practised cultural genocide is sickening and that it was run by the Catholic Church is appalling.
I arrived in Canada October 16th 1966, it would be easy to say I was not one of those people, but why did we/me know about this horror! I cannot know the pain or terror of having my children taken from me, my family ties and love broken beyond repair. My heart is sad and heavy as I write this. Why was this hidden? Why did generations of Canadiens know or say nothing of this cultural genocide?
Here is a brief excerpt from The Canadian Encyclopedia.
“Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools that were established to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Although the first residential facilities were established in New France, the term usually refers to schools established after 1880. Residential schools were created by Christian churches and the Canadian government as an attempt to both educate and convert Indigenous youth and to assimilate them into Canadian society. However, the schools disrupted lives and communities, causing long-term problems among Indigenous peoples. The last residential school closed in 1996.”
It is a clinical statement but what arrogance to decide our Euro – Canadian culture was the best for the original peoples of this land!
I am and I feel sick. And no excuse, it happened while I was becoming a new Canadian. Why didn’t the reporters of Canada ever speak up, why did the government pay for and approve this? Why didn’t I pay attention to the ‘Indian’ jokes?
My soul and that of Canada is scarred by this atrocious act of inhumanity towards another people. I used to smile at the blue berets of the Canadian peace keeping forces, what shameful sickening hypocrisy while we condoned over 100 years of cultural genocide! How dare we criticize others for their actions when our history is stained forever.
Silence allows bullies and racism to grow!
I promise as a Canadian to be vigilant and strong to actively confront any form of racism, anywhere especially in my own country! Today take some time to read about the residential schools, it made me cry for the children lost, made irrelevant and a culture lost The Canadian Encyclopedia.
July 1st 2021 Canada Day.
Always Show Up Geoffrey
Geoffrey has coached CEO’s, leaders, architects, engineers, public speakers and entrepreneurs: Here is a small collection of success stories from the different areas of Geoffrey’s background as a coach. Geoffrey has over 25 years coaching experience. He has led teams for 2010 Winter Olympic Bid, CN Financial Division, Shaw, Rocky Mountaineer, Sandwell Engineering, FKP Architects, Telus and Stantec. Geoffrey taught at the Sauder School of Business, Executive Education, at the University of British Columbia.