I believe that reconciliation is one of the important issues of our times. When they were in school, my children learned of potlatches, but not that potlatches had been banned by our government. Neither they, nor I were aware that their Indigenous counterparts might be forcibly removed from their homes to attend residential schools far from their homes. Our country’s shameful treatment of Indigenous people was simply not common knowledge and most of us were unaware that residential schools were still operating until as recently as 1996. Fortunately, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work, recent curriculum changes, and a wealth of wonderful new titles will change that for my grandchildren’s generation.
Last night, the Victoria Native Friendship Centre and the Victoria Public Library hosted Métis writer and storyteller, Monique Gray Smith, who spoke of her own journey of reconciliation. Hers is a powerful voice and I urge everyone, especially educators, caregivers and parents to buy her book.
One of the take-aways from the conversation about reconciliation between broadcaster, Shelagh Rogers and Monique Gray Smith last night was, the author’s advise to “share the medicine of love“. The other came from the Lieutenant Governor of BC, who attended. The Honourable Judith Guichon, who has been active in promoting both literacy and reconciliation, charged listeners with helping to make Canada a better place for all of it’s citizens through actions or what she called “reconciliation.” This may be a painful journey for many of us. Not all of canada’s past is pretty. But, as a country, it is a journey we must make if we are to heal.