Truth Telling: Holding out hope for healing

Victoria News reporter Roszan Holmen talks about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and where things might go from here

When Esquimalt Nation Chief Andy Thomas took the stage at the Truth and Reconciliation event last week, he didn’t focus on Indian residential schools.

He used his spotlight to talk about the present: about the Douglas treaties that still need to be addressed and about the Esquimalt reserve. At 18 hectares, it is home to 250 people, and supports another 150 people off reserve.

“We’ve been held out of the economy for too long,” Thomas said.

Reconcile. ‘To make friendly again after a period of estrangement,’ according to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary.

After a full day listening to residential school survivors, I was inspired to look up the word.

After truth telling, reconciliation is the second purpose of the national commission, and the word is meant as more than some form of settlement between government and First Nations’ leaders. Every Canadian has been charged with the task. But practically speaking, how do we move forward?

The words of one young woman at the event stuck with me: Why, she asked, don’t schools teach the names of First Nations whose homelands they occupy? Why does every child learn basic French, but not even a few phrases of the First Nations language of their region?

It’s a solution unlikely to right our nation’s historical wrongs, but it’s a place to start.

It’s hard to respect the rights of people we know little about.

Just Posted

Victoria hotel trashes Channing Tatum in favour of B.C.’s Ryan Reynolds

Tatum’s picture left in recycling bin, replaced with photo of Ryan Reynolds

Unhealthy disagreement sees three First Nations chiefs take government to court

Claim and counter-claim: B.C.’s First Nations health department and administrator end up in court.

One arrested, weapons, and drugs seized in Sooke bust

During the Feb. 6 raid, police found firearms, ammunition, drugs, and brass knuckles

Saanich intersections rank as Island’s three worst

Intersection of Admirals Road, McKenzie Avenue, and the Trans-Canada Highway had the most crashes

New tutorial ‘Whales in our Waters’ launched by BC Ferries

A new tutorial has been launched for mariners and the general public about whales in the Salish Sea

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Okanagan ski resort officials displeased with Family Day roll-out

From one peak of the Okanagan to the other, resort officials have raised concerns

Island fossil makes it to the top of the provincial list

Courtenay’s elasmosaur will be added to the official Provincial Symbols of British Columbia

B.C. high school robotics team ranked first in the world for programming

The Surrey team was also named tournament finalists at VEX Robotics Competition on Feb. 1

Man shot dead in front of Kamloops hotel may be case of mistaken identity: RCMP

Rex Gill, 44, was not previously known to Kamloops police unlike second shooting victim

Vancouver Island boys high school basketball bragging rights on the line

Oak Bay, Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Victoria host Island championships this weekend

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Payless to close 248 Canadian stores, saying it’s ‘ill-equipped’ for market

The company will begin closing stores at the end of March

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Most Read