Reconciliation ramps up in Vancouver

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      In advance of National Aboriginal Day on Friday (June 21), the City of Vancouver is launching its “Year of Reconciliation” today (June 20) with an aboriginal summit at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue.

      It comes a day after the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a report concluding that 40 percent of indigenous children live in poverty.

      CCPA chief economist David Macdonald relied on data from the 2006 census, which revealed indigenous children are more than two-and-a-half times as likely as nonaboriginal children to live below Statistics Canada’s “low-income cutoff”—the technical term for the “poverty line”. This measures household income 50 percent below the median after adjustments are made for family size.

      Meanwhile, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada will hold a forum in Vancouver from September 18 to 21 for aboriginal residential-school survivors to share their stories.

      According to the TRC, more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children attended these government-funded schools, which were operated by churches from the early 1870s until 1996. Many were banned from speaking their Native languages, beaten, and sexually abused, leaving a lasting legacy on indigenous communities.

      There will be numerous activities in Vancouver in September to raise public awareness and appreciation of First Nations, including an all-nations canoe gathering in False Creek on September 17.

      On September 22, up to 50,000 people are expected to participate in a four-kilometre walk for reconciliation through downtown Vancouver.

      Both events are being organized by Reconciliation Canada, which is a charitable partnership between the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society and Tides Canada Initiatives Society.

      Last November, Vancity granted $500,000 to Reconciliation Canada. Vancity senior vice president Linda Morris told the Straight by phone that when the credit union announced it was backing efforts at reconciliation—including the walk—the company’s internal blog was “inundated with comments, positive comments, from our employees about how this is exactly what they would expect from Vancity”.

      “People are very enthusiastic,” she said. “I put the challenge out to participate in whatever way works for you. If you have dollars, that would be great. If you have time, that would be great. But participate. That will be very moving and very meaningful.”




      Jun 21, 2013 at 9:30am

      I was forced to go to day-school. Where's my fucking payoff? This is disgusting racism at its finest.

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      Bill McCallum

      Jun 22, 2013 at 1:23pm

      In 1976 I attended a memorial at the closure of the Lejac Residential School between Fraser Lake and Fort Fraser. I can still see the little crosses representing some of those who died so far from family, friends and community. Yet the crosses represented just a few of those who never went home (24-50% by some accounts) and the names of some of those were spoken as I stood there. Perhaps their spirits rest better for being remembered - I truly hope so.
      I remember and will never forget.

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      martin sanderson/chakastaypaysin

      Jul 2, 2013 at 11:42am

      i hope we as a people and as a species can find some kind commitment to the healing process that we as first peoples have attempted to partake and are trying to deal with in a productive and/or healthy manor while still being apart of this society and not resort to the self destructive lifestyles that alot of individual survivors have been forced into by the residential experience myself and others included. the forgotten and the lost ones have not yet been given proper and just discloser in this historical diasporia of america's first peoples. the aspiration of common healing must be implied or humanity is at fault for these on going discretions.may we find health in humanity in the TRC experience.

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