Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Truth and Reconciliation - Part II

Tomorrow the Conservative government will issue another apology; this time to the aboriginal peoples of Canada for the all the ‘sins of our fathers’. I hope it helps. But I also hope the government doesn’t imagine that its ‘apology’ is on my behalf or for that matter on behalf of my parents or their parents because none of us, as far as I know, were involved in committing the alleged sins. One, anyone, including current government officials, can only apologize for their own actions. 'Apologies' for others’ decisions and actions at another time in history - no matter what the outcome - are meaningless.

‘We’ (and that means everyone, including new immigrants from Pakistan) can only acknowledge that what was done, by others, at an earlier time, no matter how well intentioned, may have harmed people and, with the benefit of that hindsight and advanced knowledge, ‘we’ could say ‘we’ wouldn’t do the same things today. Of course that wouldn’t stop Phil Fontaine from decrying a host of on-going sins against aboriginals and, of course, demanding more money.

Here’s an interesting article by Richard Wagamese, an Ojibway from northwestern Ontario, about his elderly mother’s positive experiences in residential schools. There are also some interesting reactions in the comments - many effectively suggesting his mother was a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. "Truth" and "Reconciliation" will be difficult to find.

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