Sechelt had a native residential school and some of the children attended the same high school I did. I made friends with a girl named Ruth and one Saturday day I got my mother to let me visit her at the school. I can still remember being appalled by how my friend had to live. She showed me where she slept. It was a small metal bunk in a room filled with bunks. Each of these bunks had only enough room between them for a child to stand and that is all. She showed me where she and the other children washed. It was a huge room with row after row of sinks and a large communal shower. No privacy was afforded any of these children. If robbing their dignity and their families were not enough these children were often inadequately fed and clothed. I have never forgotten this place and the sadness I felt knowing that my friend went to bed every night with out any one to comfort her or treat her special.
On Wednesday Prime Minister Harper apologized on behalf of the citizens of Canada and the government for robbing these children of their families, their culture, their dignity, their religion and in some cases their lives. It is about time we accepted responsibility for what we have done.
I hope that this helps with the healing that must take place for these people and the generations that have been effected by it, but I wonder .... is it too little too late? I often wonder what happened to my friend Ruth. I hope she found her way home to her family and found a way to heal from what we as a society did to her. I hope she found the love and caring that was rightfully hers, but denied her by ignorant government rule and greedy hypocritical religious leaders.
"The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us."