On Thursday afternoon I had the honor to be part of a large group of members of the local indigenous community, UFV community and general members of the community at large that were invited and gathered at the Gathering Place on the Chilliwack UFV campus for a three hour presentation of songs, stories, ceremony, and celebration, to honour the spirit of children lost to residential schools, survivors and families, and to move forward reconciliation and Halq’emeylem language Revitalization. Music was by “Good Medicine Songs”
Many spoke of their experiences, and those of their family members. Even though I have the attention span of a gnat generally, I listened carefully to the stories as their accounts were told with great sincerity and a few tears. These stories probably wouldn’t have been told 20 years ago, and if they were no one would’ve listened.
Reconciliation and social justice is necessary and easy to wish for. Actually accomplishing them is much more difficult. Certainly approaching the issues with an open heart is a good beginning. But much more than that is required.
Although I do not know what reconciliation will eventually look like, my reflection causes me to believe that the following steps would move things along faster:
Free post secondary tuition for all indigenous students in Canada
Relaxed, hiring standards for post secondary indigenous faculty members until they constitute an appropriate percentage of faculty in Canada, and thereby offer indigenous students successful role models.
Immediate funding to upgrade infrastructure, including water on all indigenous reserves and communities. Spend like it’s Covid time or a war.
Greater speed by both federal and provincial governments to settle land claims and bring indigenous communities into our economy to eliminate the embarrassing income gap
And obviously other steps motivated by a search for justice and reconciliation.
Today is a day to reflect
Reflection is a good thing. Your thoughts.
The artwork photographed as the theme of the event is by local indigenous artist Bon Graham
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