Statement Issued by the Survivors Circle and Governing Circle of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation on Senator Beyak

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Statement Issued by the Survivors Circle and Governing Circle of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation on Senator Beyak

by pmnationtalk on April 4, 2017838 Views

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April 4, 2017

Statement Issued by the Survivors Circle and Governing Circle of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation on Senator Beyak

Recent and ongoing comments made by Senator Beyak are deeply hurtful and irresponsible. We, Survivors and Intergenerational Survivors of the Residential Schools, must speak out against these attitudes of denial.

The Residential Schools attacked our way of life and being. They stole our ability to live with our parents and they removed our parents’ right to care for us. We were subjected to violence, cultural assimilation, and genocide.

For decades we have reached out to this country. In doing so, we have been called liars and had our experiences dismissed and challenged every step of the way. Through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, thousands of Survivors shared their painful memories with Canada in the hopes that this country would finally acknowledge the realities we endured.  It is only recently that our voices have begun to be heard.

The ongoing denial of Senator Beyak to recognize what we suffered is not only an assault on our experiences; it is an assault on Truth and Reconciliation more broadly across the country.

One day there will be no Survivors of the schools left. What will happen to this country at that point? Will we give rise to more voices like Senator Beyak’s? Will we turn our back on the realities of what we endured?

Reconciliation is our chance to get this right as a country — to become more than we have been and to learn how to live together in respectful ways.  In achieving this vision, we are not asking for much as Survivors.

We simply ask that the pain we endured is acknowledged with respect and humility. We ask that no child should ever endure what we went through. We ask for apology and redress for what we suffered.   We ask that parents have the ability to love their children and that children have the ability to receive this love.

Most importantly, we ask that as a society, we no longer tolerate the racism, prejudice, ignorance, and hate that gave rise to a system as fundamentally damaging as the residential schools.

While we acknowledge that each of us shared some positive moments in the residential schools, the overall system was deeply harmful to us.  Burying one’s head in the sand in a vain attempt to see only the good in the system demonstrates a profound lack of respect for what we have shared with this country.

We as a collective society must not tolerate the dismissal of our experiences any longer. Failure to recognize the attitudes that gave rise to the supposed need to assimilate us Indigenous peoples does not only hurt us, it hurts the generations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children to come.

We are heartened by the work taking place in many areas of the country.  We also acknowledge the many voices across this country that have spoken out on this issue.

We encourage all Canadians to continue to stand beside us so the deep wounds entrenched in our country can continue to heal.

The path forward is one of respect, humility, love, courage, wisdom, honesty and most importantly, truth.  We ask all those willing to embrace this healing work to stand by us in this time of need and we call upon all Canadians to hear our voice.

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