It was recently discovered that there is a burial site with 215 bodies of First Nations children at the site of a former Residential School in Kamloops, BC. BC is my home province, and we know these Residential Schools were all throughout Canada.
In my life, I was quite oblivious to this and the history of it, I guess it felt quite removed from my life and don’t recall learning about it in school – although I knew of its existence, so I clearly did learn about it. Shockingly, it existed fairly recently. We know that the last Residential school wasn’t even closed until 1996. I was 14 at that time. First Nations children were taken from their families and homes and placed into these boarding schools. The intention was for them to no longer learn or follow their cultural traditions. Lose their heritage. ‘Assimilate them into the Euro-Canadian culture,’ was how it began. They were called the stolen generation, but with the time span that this took place, it was 7 generations of children. They were mistreated, abused horribly and many died.
My grandmother lived in Haida Gwaii for some time growing up, and her friend Selina had been at a Residential School. My dad says she had a horrible time and those who experienced this just wanted to forget. My dad remembers visiting Selina and her husband when he was a child.
My husband’s grandma was a Residential school survivor. She grew up in Saskatchewan. She won’t walk about it. She was over for a visit 2 days ago and mentioned that her mother would speak Cree, her dad, being Scottish, didn’t speak the language, but he understood it, she told us. With her and her siblings being ‘half’ First Nations, they were considered Métis. But my husband has never heard her tell this before, that her mother was Cree. My sister’s mother in law was also a Residential school survivor here in BC.
I see so many posts now about it, with this new discovery of the mass grave. The call to wear orange shirts to support ~ which was yesterday and we did show support with our orange. It is a truly terrible thing, and I feel badly that I don’t know what to offer in way of support. Wearing Orange shirts doesn’t feel like it’s enough, but it’s a start. I wouldn’t want to insult the survivors by pretending I understand. I think just like anything evolving in understanding over the years, this will be something to learn more about, hear the stories of the survivors, those willing to share. I also know we can’t be naive enough to think this is the only burial site at a former Residential school. This was just one school, of 140 in Canada. It does give me hope that just like the pride movement, the support and understanding increases over time. It’s a slow process of course.
I watched a Mindvalley masterclass some months back with Ken Wilbur, who is considered the ‘Einstein’ of consciousness. He talked about societies ‘waking up and growing up’ in the sense of going from Egocentric, everything being centred around the individual, to ethnocentric, everything being centred around your immediate cultural family or group or country, to world centric, where you have more of a ‘humanity’ mindset – you think in terms of human rights.
We do see evidence that humanity is ‘growing up’ in the way that things that were acceptable at one time are no longer so. Talking about issues like this enough that no one could possibly support such treatment of people going forward is important.
My older son is 15 years old today ~ he is fortunate to live in a time that he does, and I look forward to the learning that his generation will go through, towards the growing up of humanity bit by bit.