Making Relatives With All

September 30, 2019

On this Orange Shirt Day, which is close to being commemorated as the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in Parliament, we remember a large portion of the Indigenous community who have been impacted by the lasting effects of loss, grief, and trauma associated with the Indian Residential School System.


And while some still casually say ‘get over it,’ we know that when our Indigenous youth today go through the blanket exercise, it is a revelation to them, where all the connections and interconnections of history finally come together explaining their lives, giving them the answers to ‘why’ things are the way they are.


Similarly, many of the youth of today have a greater awareness and understanding about injustice, about living in fairness and equality for those different from themselves. We have only to reflect upon the worldwide climate marches and strikes to know our youth are watching. They have learned the great lesson of diversity that has eluded so many of their elders, and they are teaching us what it means to be global citizens: caring for one another, sharing concern for each other’s well-being, and working together for a better future.


On this day we take time to remember our history. A history that is as complex and fraught and challenging as any nation on earth, and yet we remain a country of relative peace, calm, and goodwill toward others. We must maintain that posture as the world changes, as we become more diverse in our communities, as we grow and adapt.


We are meant to be one people in Creation, with many creeds, many colours, many practices, and many beliefs. And that rich diversity helps us to maintain our vibrancy.

As I highlighted in our Right Relations 101 session this past week, the Indigenous view of our Treaty relationship is that it is a necessary part of learning to live together. We must learn to be one people by stepping into that relationship with openness and a willingness to share our space, to treat each other as equals, to treat each other as family, and share our teachings, share our ways, share our spaces even in our corporate centres and businesses, so that we are always giving back and constantly learning to live with one another.


READ: CBC News: 'So we don't forget what happened in those schools': Remembering Indigenous children on Orange Shirt Day


Tony Snow, Indigenous Lead


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Hillhurst United Church

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