Truth and Reconciliation: A Shared Journey

"Do you have it in you to be part of the solution?"
Justice Murray Sinclair

Where am I from?
Where am I going?
What is my purpose?
Who do I want to be?

These are the four questions that Justice Murray Sinclair stated are at the heart of all Indigenous peoples as they quest for meaning in this life. He said exploring these questions is part of the healing that must unfold as part of the Truth and Reconciliation process in Canada.

I submit they are the questions that we as a country must be exploring together. For seven generations Indigenous peoples in our country were sent to residential schools causing the breakdown of communities, family systems, and individual identities. As our country was colonized, our first people lost their land, have been devalued, and have been marginalized on every level.

My heart has been stirred and shaken. Hearing Justice Sinclair share stories from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings was a stab in the heart. He gently and insistently disturbed our consciousness as he told the stories. I witnessed different generations of our first nations brothers and sisters receive his stories and weep. I, and others, who are non Indigenous, sat and shook our heads and bowed our heads down as we heard the painful truths that are a reality of our country. It is not just the history of our Indigenous peoples, it is our shared history as Canadians. 

Justice Sinclair spoke of healing. He invited us to not be overwhelmed but rather to look at the 94 recommendations in the TRC report and to find an area where we can become part of the solution. He powerfully called us forth by asking “Do you have it within you to be part of the solution?”

On December 15, 2015 the final report will be presented in Ottawa. I will pay attention in a new and different way to this historic moment. I hope that as Canadians we will move from being disrupted by these truths and hear the call that the healing and solutions are part of our collective responsibility. We can change the path of history by honouring the heritage and traditions of our Indigenous peoples in new ways. We can make this a priority of our country. We can share our support, skills and experiences so that we can be part of the change together. We can listen and ask questions so that we can strive to understand. We can change our conversations so that we can evolve a new way of being in connection.

Thanks to Atlosha Native Family Healing Services in London, Ontario for hosting this event. By doing so new awareness is achieved, new relationships formed, and new conversations are unfolding. I am grateful.

Together we can explore our common humanity by expanding the questions Sinclair said are part of the healing journey.

Where do WE come?
Where are WE going together?
What is OUR shared purpose?
Who do WE want to be?

The Truth and Reconciliation findings have disturbed me and up until now I have not known what to do. After last nights experience I will reach out to our First Nations people with the offer to engage as an ally. In a small way, I hope that I can contribute to the healing. I choose to not just shake my head or retreat into shame. Today, I choose to engage in the healing process knowing it is a long and important journey.

As Gandhi said "Be the change you want to see." I hope you'll consider how you might be the change on this vital issue for our country.

To find out more read the TRC report