Truth & Reconciliation
For the child taken,
For the parent left behind.
Definition of RECONCILIATION
1: the action of reconciling : the state of being reconciled
2: the Roman Catholic sacrament of penance
reconciling: to restore friendship or harmony
On my birthday in 2008, PM Stephen Harper stood before all of Canada and issued a public apology. He apologized to the former students of residential schools and their families for the treatment of the children, and the aftermath that it wrought.
The effects of which are still being felt today.
Growing up, I remember so many kids from town asking “Why don’t your people just stop drinking?” Or “Alcohol was introduced to your culture over a hundred years ago, why aren’t they like us? It’s just a part of every day life now, not like … drunk all the time.”
I remember feeling so much rage and yet, not fully understanding the real issues and the truth. My parents hid a lot of what happened to them and their friends and families and their parents from us. I know they were trying to protect us, but keeping the truth from us, keeping a means of defense from us, was the same as lying.
And you know what? We may as well have been doing the same to the rest of the country. But it wasn’t just us, it is the lack of education for everyone. And therefore, a lack of understanding.
Then again, for a lot of people, it wasn’t just a matter of protecting their children from the truth and harm, it was self-protection as well. So many years of being afraid to tell the truth, of being thought of as victims, or liars, or weak.
If anyone thought that of these people, these survivors … remember … they were children taken from their mothers and fathers and grandparents, placed in these schools and separated from their brothers and sisters. They were kept apart from their families as much as possible. Even when the residential school was in the community, families were not allowed to see their own children except for three or four times a year, if they were lucky.
Imagine being in that family. Having your children taken from you. Having no loving arms to comfort you when you wake from a bad dream. And then being forced to speak a foreign language, and smacked when you speak your own. Being forced to pray in another’s religion and beaten for praying in your own. That was their reality. For years.
And then add physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Some got lucky and were spared. But not everyone.
The Truth & Reconciliation Commission has undertaken to record and, hopefully, aide in the healing process of as many survivors as possible. Survivors have come to the events in communities and told their stories, shared their pain.
Mind you, not everyone. I know of a few who still refuse to talk to anyone. They’d rather forget and pretend it never happened.
The crazy thing is, this continued well into the 70s. And then a First Nation-run residential school continued to run until the 90s. Unfortunately, when you have a residential school run by victims of abuse, the cycle is a bit perpetuating.
Back in June of this year, I attended the TRC event in Saskatoon. It was a great event. Seeing so many survivors together, working on getting their stories told, overcoming their fears. There were a lot of tears.
I picked up a few prints, one of the speech by PM Harper, and one of a map of all the church-run schools in Canada. My uncles and a few of their friends were pointing out the schools they went to. It was sad to see they didn’t even all get to go to the same schools. Or schools that were even remotely close to their communities.
They even had free books. I picked up two copies of one called “Speaking my Truth: Reflections on Reconciliation & Residential School.” One for me, and one as a blog giveaway. If you’d like this copy, leave a comment and your name will be entered into the draw. Deadline will be Sunday at midnight, Saskatchewan time.
The Last Saskatchewan Pirate
Today (Sept 19) is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
It also happens to be the 10th anniversary of Talk Like A Pirate Day! Arrrr!
A few years ago, when I told the kids about it, they surprised me with my very own Jolly Roger. It came complete with sails made from mini Saskatchewan flags. I laughed so hard because it totally reminded me of the song The Last Saskatchewan Pirate by the Arrogant Worms, a
bar band from Regina a musical comedy group from Kingston, ON1. The best part is, they’d never heard of that song before!
‘An it’s a heave-ho, high-ho, coming down the Plains
Stealing wheat and barley and all the other grains
And it’s a ho-hey, high-hey, farmers bar your doors
When you see the Jolly Roger on Regina’s mighty shores.
It was a lovely bit of serendipity, so I bought and downloaded the song from iTunes to show to my daughter. She got a real kick out of it. I highly recommend it to everyone, actually.
http://tinyurl.com/skpirate (also autoplays the song in background)
Today is also Pirates’ Day in Booty Bay, Stranglethorn. That’s World of Warcraft for the uninitiated. ;) Unfortunately, I just wasted what little time I had posting this instead of logging in so I won’t have time to head over there this morning. Will have to wait until after work. *sigh*
I mean … ARRRRRRGH! :P
Today is also something else … something much more important and much more serious … but that will also have to wait until after work. Until then, mateys!
1: Thank you to Jenn Croome (@ChiefWormfan) for correcting me. The Worms are from Kingston, not Regina. Which is funny … as a kid, I moved from Kingston to Regina. (I lived in Ontario when I was real little when my dad was going to Queens.)
IT Summit 12
I had a lot of fun at this year’s IT Summit put up by Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. I’m told most years the summit can be geared more toward the educational resource side of things, but this year, I got lucky and they decided to make it all about IT. It was all about incorporating IT into classrooms (and keeping it out when appropriate lol), supporting school networks, network security in an educational institution, and planned expansion and upgrades to the Saskatchewan school networks, both mainstream and non (the non being the Christian school system and on-reserve school system).
I got to hang with other techs who support schools, see some great presentations, pick up some sweet swag, and I came to a very important conclusion about my own personal career goals.
2012 Saskatchewan First Nation Winter Games
Yes, yes, yes. I am aware of how woefully behind I am in posting this.
We had a good time. I was there to be a gopher for the Director of Education at BATC Ed who was the hockey guy at the Jemini Arenas for the Games. What ended up happening instead was that I ended up being food delivery for everyone. It was sort of awesome.
My daughter also got to play on the actual badminton mats used in the Olympic Games or something like that. It was pretty cool for her. She almost made it to the playoffs, but got distracted in the last game. Ah well … she made me so proud. XD
My boy did awesome as an aide to my sister who was a chaperon for Thunderchild. He even got a security badge with his name and picture that listed him as a chaperon. It was so cute. (more…)
Busy as that proverbial beaver …
Man, it has been crazy busy lately. The biggest project on my plate at the moment is the Saskatchewan 2012 First Nation Winter Games. Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs (my employers) are hosting the games this year in Saskatoon. Normally, IT wouldn’t be a big part of a sports … thing. But BATC is doing a lot of innovative stuff this time around that involves our little geeksquad.
For example, we’re planning on live streaming a few of the games. We’re also doing online registration of the athletes. So … as I’m sure you can imagine, it’s taking up a lot of our time. Not to mention we still have to do all our regular jobs like making sure the school servers are up, the school computers work, the chiefs’ computers and laptops work, the office computers are running well, etc.
PLUS … our latest project is Deep Freeze on the school computers. Let me tell you guys, DF, in its latest incarnation, is a thing of beauty. I mean, really. Especially if you use the Enterprise version, which is what we have. I looove it like there’s no tomorrow.
Add the LogMeIn software to that, and Sharon is a happy geek. :D
And with that, I’ve noticed how late it’s getting and I really need to get up early tomorrow. It’s actually Reading Week. My kids have the week off so I’ve offered their fathers visiting time with them. I’m not happy with it, because I miss my kids, but I suppose kids should bond with their other parents. And perhaps my boy will see his other mom when he’s there on the rez too. Get the whole family experience.
In any case, it’s a lot of driving for me and driving makes me tired. :P So with that, I bid thee adieu.