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LETTER: Calls to action on reconciliation stalled

The discovery of unmarked graves of children on the grounds of Kamloops Indian Residential School and now another discovery of unmarked graves on Kupers Island Residential School has left many of us deeply saddened and appalled that this is part of our recent history.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2015 documented and published the horrific stories and legacy of the suffering and ongoing trauma inflicted by the residential schools on our Indigenous brothers and sisters. Many brave survivors and relatives came forward to enlighten our nation to the truth and legacy of a very dark time in our history. They gave us the shocking truth. As painful as it must have been for them they came forward and shared their pain and suffering and expressed their needs and concerns. Out of this came the “Calls to Action” – a plan, as stated in the document, to “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation…” As of today, six years later, very few of the 93 individual calls to action have taken place.

As a nation we must join our voices in unity to encourage, support and pressure our municipal, provincial and federal government bodies to act in a just and meaningful manner to “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation…” The process of truth and reconciliation must be deeds and not just words.

Now is not the time for vandalism and violence that will only spark further racism and hatred. Now is the time for us to unite and work together to conquer the enemy of intolerance, prejudice and ignorance.

As grandmothers, we look with hope to a bright future for our grandchildren without the darkness of this time. A future where all people are treated with dignity and respect by each other and the institutions that govern our nation. We are privileged to live in a country where individual freedom is honoured and unity in diversity is the principle that holds the fabric of our society together.

Belle Garduno and Yassamin Abhar

Sidney and Central Saanich