Many school children visited Milt Dunnell Field on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and completed crafts relevant to the occasion.
By Spencer Seymour
"Were we ever conciled to begin with?"
Author S.P. Joseph Lyons asked this question to the attendees of the sacred burning at The Flats on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. And when you really consider it, it's tough to say we were.
In the early days following to arrival of the European settlers, there was trade and baseline cooperation. Though, deep bonds of friendship and an agreement to share the land and walk hand-in-hand were never really forged. Slowly, the settlers took more and gave less, until all that was left to take was the Indigenous peoples' culture.
Now, though, we are at a point as non-Indigenous Canadians where we are learning what the Indigenous peoples have gone through. As difficult as it is to hear, we need the First Nations communities to continue sharing these experiences and teaching us the whole truth of Canada's history. And in return, they need their non-Indigenous counterparts to listen, learn, and care.
It's okay if you have misconceptions. It's okay if, during your process of learning more about the history of the Indigenous peoples, you find out something you'd always thought was actually incorrect; that's called learning. It's okay to not want to believe that the country you love could have done such terrible things to its own people. None of this is about feeling like all of this is somehow your fault, just like Lyons told the people listening to him speak in St. Marys.
What this is all about is reaching the ultimate goal of a country where Indigenous communities have clean drinking water and aren't worried about discrimination because of the clothes they wear or the hair on their head. A country where the wide variety of Indigenous languages and customs can thrive and be enjoyed by everyone who wants to enjoy them. A country where there is real friendship between the Indigenous person and the non-Indigenous person. A country of compassionate friends, aware of their history, who fix the systems that are broken, and who finally heal the wounds of the past. A country, at long last, conciled, never to be in need of reconciliation.