Thousands of people follow residential school survivors, Indigenous leaders, elders and youth on a walk to Semiahmoo First Nation lands during National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.  (Aaron Hinks photo)

LETTERS: National Day of Truth and Reconciliation a call to be a better Canadian

Editor:

Thank you for informing your readers about the Semiahmoo First Nation’s Walk on Truth and Reconciliation day.

It was an overwhelming experience. I was immersed in the joy and acceptance that the chief expressed multiple times, plus the solemnity of the huge crowd of visitors, most of us in our orange shirts. The crowds were quiet and respectful.

What struck me most was the willingness to forgive I felt all around me. I had gone with the personal mission to find one or two of our community’s Indigenous people and apologize personally for my participation in the dreadful treatment of them – not that I was a designer of the school system, or the countless other horrible decrees in the Indian Act, but rather, for the fact that I had been, for the whole of my life, preoccupied and consumed with myself and my own wants and worries.

The two women I singled out, listened to my clumsy efforts and virtually showered me with love and forgiveness. One of them threw her arms about me, smiling, then told her two little girls to give me a hug, too. I’ll never forget their little faces as they put their arms around me.

My work now, is to do something about this horrifying situation that we have allowed to exist for hundreds of years.

Our First Nations people are abused, not just in schools, but everywhere. In order to change anything, I must educate myself. We are unbelievably ignorant of just what goes on.

What do I do? I bought a terrific book on Saturday, “21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act,” by Bob Joseph.

My goal is to do anything I can to help restore to these wonderful people of our First Nations their place of dignity and control that should never have been stripped from them.

As for myself, I want to be, hopefully, a better Canadian.

Sybil Rowe, Surrey

Letter to the EditorTruth and Reconciliation