TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION DAY
SEPTEMBER 30TH 2021
Today we join the rest of our compatriots in Canada in public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of Indian Residential School. Today we to honour the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.
The residential school program is a dark blur in the history of our great nation of Canada. Between the period 1894 to 1947 our government through department of Indian affairs had set up a cruel a dehumanising system which we called Indian residential school system, which was administered by churches. The Indian residential school system was created to isolate indigenous children from the influence of their own native culture and religion. The executive summary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report explained the argument that advised the practice to be “the belief that the colonisers were bringing civilisation to savage people who could never civilise themselves ... a belief of racial and cultural superiority”
This day we also join the Indigenous led grassroot groups that commemorate The Orange Shirt Day. The Orange Shirt day is a day that relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation, on her first day of school, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her. It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.
We will wear orange shirts today to show our support and to commemorate this dark period in our collective history as Canadians. A reminder to us about man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. A reminder to us that the delusion of racial and cultural superiority unfortunately is destructive, and must not be an encouraged practice, WE NEED TO KICK IT OUT!
Today is a day for Truth and Reconciliation. Truth is defined as the actual state of a matter, an adherence to reality, or an indisputable fact. When people face the truth, they might react in a number of ways depending on which side they are on (the perpetrator or the victim): anger, frustration, defensiveness, recall of past hurts, flash backs, de ja vu phenomenon, apprehension, fight, fright, flight, soberness and humility and also peace, Peace and sober reflection are very important and what we do next is the most important. We need to leverage on this peace to achieve reconciliation.
Reconciliation is a process whereby two groups of people who were in a conflict, become friends again. It is a process of restoration of peace, trust and cooperation. This means that truth is the rate limiting step. Truth comes with acknowledgment of wrongdoing and pledge not to do it again. It involves restitution made to the group that has suffered the injustice and degradation. To achieve reconciliation built on Peace, Trust and Cooperation, the systemic biases and injustices that might have been at the heart of the cruel policy of residential school system, which was purely the delusion of systemic racism must be totally dismantled structurally and mentally.
I empathise with the survivors of the residential school system, their families and we remember the victims that did not survive, the ones that paid with their blood and the families that are mourning them. We remember people whose lives might never be the same again because they have lost their identity, they had their humanity stolen from them and we remember parents whose children were forcefully removed, who might never see these children again.
We live with these people and as physicians we support some of them. A lot are living with indescribable mental, emotional and physical trauma which has left them dysfunctional in the society and unfortunately, no amount of restitution can restore or compensate for the lifetime of carnage that they are left to grapple with.
I pray that The Peace of GOD that passes all human understanding shall keep their hearts and mind in knowledge of Christ and I pray that we can find a way to forgive each other as forgiveness is the true rate-limiting step for peace. I pray that JESUS Christ will rebuke the storm of racism, hatred, unforgiveness and bigotry even as we accept the truth, so that we can have true reconciliation.
I pray that Jehovah Ebenezar (our Rock of Help), will be your “Rock of Help” as you discover His peace, find rest and embrace reconciliation.
I bring you greetings from The Physicians, Management and Staff of Ebenezar Medical and Walk-in Clinic Red Deer, Alberta.