Editorial: There’s a cost to setting things right

It’s sure to be a solemn time for many of those people taking part in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Victoria.

It’s sure to be a solemn time for many of those people taking part in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission today and tomorrow in Victoria.

The trauma inflicted by the 150-year legacy of Indian residential schools has shaped Canadian society as we know it. First Nations continue to have an uneasy relationship with the country they are born into. That won’t change after this weekend, or even once the commission finishes hearing from the 150,000 or so people expected to tell their stories across the country.

We might ask if it’s worth the pain to reopen old wounds and whether we’d all be better off by simply forgetting what happened.

In the 21st century it seems beyond the pale for people to treat each other the way earlier generations did. We are a society that prides itself on our tolerance, but the fact is, we are not that far removed from our past. The idea of forcing hegemony was a popular notion among many Canadians throughout our history.

Almost every ethnic group that was somehow alien to the mainstream has stories of attempted assimilation. In almost every case the process was a profound failure.

But it is the residential schools – their thoroughness and persistence – that has left the largest legacy of damage to a population that really should be at the core of who we are as a nation.

We can argue that many First Nations children benefited by the educational opportunities that our government and churches provided. They were given a chance at an industrial quality of life that their culture often eschewed.

As many as 3,000 people are expected to add their voices to the commission at the Victoria Conference Centre. Some will recall the kindness of teachers and others who really believed they were doing what was best for the children in their care. Others will reveal a depth of evil that provokes emotions that should be harder to stir from events that happened so long ago.

It’s time for Canadians to open ourselves to doing what will correct past mistakes. We need to celebrate cultures authorities once tried to destroy.

And we must be willing to put our money where our mouth is, whether that’s in treaty negotiations or respecting the rights of First Nations to have a stronger say on how their traditional lands are used.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The construction zone remains for now at Clover Point, but plans for a new pedestrian zone and partially closed traffic loop were approved by Victoria councillors on Thursday. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Victoria council compromises with partial closure of Clover Point

Option preserves parking 14 spots facing ocean, creates more pedestrian space

(Black Press Media file photo)
Trees Cannabis to reignite downtown Victoria location as licensed store

The dispensary will reopen its 230 Cook St. location on Saturday

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

Sergeant Francis Dion with the box containing HMCS Calgary’s new secret mascot costume. (HMCSNCSMCalgary/Facebook)
Don Devenney is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Community Builder of the year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore volunteer’s efforts an exercise in adventurous pursuits

Don Devenney is the 2021 recipient of the Community Builder Award

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read