Friday, March 28, 2014

Wisdom, Truth and Reconciliation (Day 2)

Today's moodlings from the Truth and Reconciliation commission...

... how beautifully our First Nations sisters and brothers lead prayer... rather than imposing their words, they invite everyone gathered to pray, and then stand away from the microphone to talk to Creator for a moment in their own language, allowing all to do the same...

... on a survivor's wall... "I am 72 years old, and still hurting. I need help"...
Another survivor wrote: "Don't just say sorry. You's also need to ask us for forgiveness"...

... the story of a young boy who was called ugly by the authorities at his residential school, and the abuse he suffered not only at their hands, but at the hands of other children who scapegoated him, though he was one of them. Imagine being 8 years old and forced to wade through the 3-hole lavatory pit in search of a handkerchief that a nun insisted you had used as toilet paper, though you knew full well that someone had stolen it from you...

... Emcee Stan Wesley leading the crowd in stomping our feet to make it sound like a herd of buffalo running through the convention hall, out the doors and down the river valley...

... the prayer by First Nations poet Terry Lusty that appears in today's Edmonton Sun newspaper...

... the story of a young girl whose 13-year-old brother was beaten to death by a nun. Now a woman in her seventies, his sister just wanted his story, and his name to be known. Michael Antoine...

... the story of another young boy who had hated and wanted to kill an abusive priest for over 50 years, but upon meeting his abuser at a funeral, the survivor apologized for his hatred instead, and realized that he was further along the road to reconciliation than the perpetrator of his abuse...

... the taped voice of a cancer-ridden and dying Jack Layton, former NDP leader of Canada, sharing the story of how his grandparents only survived their first winter in Canada through the kindness of New Brunswick Mi'kmaq  people living nearby who showed the newcomers where to find the sweet potatoes and how to live off the land... and Jack's undying commitment to the healing of First Nations people. His son, Mike Layton, brought the recording to the Edmonton TRC from Toronto...

... the post-traumatic stress flashbacks still suffered by survivors...

... the wisdom of parents who told their children, "We didn't give you up; they took you away"...

... the care of the people in the red and white vests who pass through the listening crowds with glasses of water, boxes of facial tissues, and paper bags to save the tear-filled tissues so that all tears are honoured by burning in the sacred fire that is carefully tended outside...

... the decision of many survivors to let go of bitterness and anger in favour of forgiveness...

... the mention of two good Catholic priests who accepted the hurt and anger of two survivors and created a safe place where their healing process began...

... the 2000+ prayer shawls made so that people who have to speak or hear difficult things can wrap themselves in courage...

... the long road ahead... and the challenge of reconciliation...

... and so much more. I encourage you to attend either in person at the Shaw Conference Centre in downtown Edmonton, or to follow online by clicking here for daytime broadcasts.

Here's a mini-documentary by Wab Kinew, one of today's honorary witnesses at the Edmonton TRC...

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