Tuesday, May 31, 2016

More Than Sorry

In keeping with the final report of the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has issued an apology to the aboriginal peoples of this province for what were essentially the genocidal injustices of the past. It was an appropriate step to take, and one I fully support as a citizen of the province. This paragraph from the text of Wynne's speech gives us the essence of the apology

As Premier, I apologize for the policies and practices supported by past Ontario governments and for the harm they caused. I apologize for the province’s silence in the face of abuses and deaths at residential schools. And I apologize for the fact that the residential schools are only one example of systemic, intergenerational injustices inflicted upon Indigenous communities throughout Canada.

We will now see whether our provincial and federal governments fulfill the promises of their apologies and  verbal commitment to a reciprocal relationship with First Nations.

I continue to follow this discussion with great interest, as a concerned citizen, as a United Church member, and as the pastor of a congregation with a direct history with aboriginal peoples. Bridge St. Methodist Church established a First Nations community on Grape Island in the Bay of Quinte during the early 1800s, but it was short-lived and likely ill-conceived. The group of more than one hundred moved to Alderville within a couple of years.

We have invited David Mowat of the Alderville First Nation to be our guest speaker at this year's Canada Sunday service at Bridge St UC.  David participated in the Circuit Riders dramatic presentation during two performances last year and he did an excellent job of offering an aboriginal perspective consistent with the era. He was pleased to be invited because he has been involved in the Truth and Reconciliation process. I look forward to his presence with us.

Do you feel the apologies of governments are worthwhile? Are they a step toward reconciliation? Have you read the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report? Will you join us for the June 26th service at which David Mowat will speak?


Judy McKnight said...

The apologies are absolutely necessary, and we must do everything we can to alleviate the present inadequacies which plague First Nations - water purity and supply, is a good start - and adequate, comfortable housing is also necessary (as it should be for every Canadian citizen).

Frank said...

I agree. Time to Walk the Talk.