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.

Just Posted

Cycslists were all smiles during ninth Tour de Victoria

More than 2,100 cyclists participated

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after Const. Beckett’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Police investigating incident in Saanich neighbourhood

Neighbours tell Black Press Media that a body has been found, but police remain tight-lipped.

Langford lizard sighting excites Victoria museum curator

Curator of vertebrate zoology/knowledge explains the spread of the Wall lizard in the region

Colwood man takes on Ride to Conquer Cancer for 11th year in a row

Team Finn has raised almost $3 million for BC Cancer Foundation

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read