The Bridge

June 7, 2022

We all have a history, some of which we would change if we could go back, but we can’t. On the other hand, it would be a mistake upon a mistake not to learn from it. This also can apply to whole countries that have committed unconscionable acts. Canada is no exception for its inhumane treatment of Indigenous People. Leaving them deeply wounded, scared and bewildered with generational trauma. In other words, the gravity of the damage is so severe it has left the first people with long-term repercussions. Impacting them mentally, physically, and spiritually. And it isn’t over. To this day, through discrimination and intolerance, they continue to bear the burden of indignant, negative, intrusive behavior on their peace and emotional well-being.

These violations are very real and serious for Indigenous People. While more and more inclusion of First Nation content in the classroom is excellent, special steps of consideration, understanding, and sensitivity need to be taken. Anything less would be evasive. Especially when it comes to themes like Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop, oppressive government legislation. Measures do need to be taken with an emphasis on an open mind, a sense of decency, and humility. Care also needs to be taken to create awareness that this isn’t typical data to be reviewed and analyzed from Canadian history. In comparison to other subjects, for instance extinct animals from the ice age. Canada's First People are not extinct and their journey with Canada is by no means a common subject.

These tragedies didn’t happen thousands of years ago. Efforts were made over decades to conceal it. In time becoming known as Canada's dark secret. Out of all honesty, it’s a loaded topic and should be treated as such. In realization, this is something very different, especially within the dynamic of tradition and professionalism ingrained in public schools. With the introduction of something so personal to Indigenous People and so shameful to Canada, genuine sincerity and the nurturing of it is vital in addressing Indigenous themes.

In conclusion, can we afford not to ask ourselves what lessons are to be learned from Canadas’s disgrace upon itself and upon Indigenous People? No, we can’t. It will all need to be brought out into the open, consumed, digested with understanding, sensitivity and in the spirit of enhancement. Then there can be contrast in reflection by the learner. With a positive takeaway which will ultimately lead to heartfelt change. In time relieving Indigenous People from a long-drawn-out captivity of misunderstanding and countless violations. Placing Canada on a new avenue of redefining itself for future generations, mutual respect, potential and possibility for all.

A reflection from Brian Point

Indigenous Support Worker, Abbotsford School District