OTTAWA, ON, September 29, 2021 / CNW / – As we mark the first National Truth and Reconciliation Day, I reflect on how my childhood shaped me. How many children in our community and thousands of other indigenous children across Canada, were torn from their homes, separated from their families and sent to residential schools, where they were not allowed to speak their language or honor their culture, and were punished if they did.

As the child of a white father and an Inuk mother, I was not allowed to attend. I stayed there, home-educated, and visited families where there was a palpable void. I was a substitute, a beloved surrogate, for mothers and fathers who were desperately missing their children.

We have all felt it. The grief of missing part of our community.

Since the launch of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the publication of Calls to action– and more recently, with the discovery of anonymous graves of residential school children – the true history of Canada has been laid bare. The legacy of colonization has had a devastating impact on Indigenous peoples, including the loss of language, culture and heritage. This pain has been felt from generation to generation, and it continues today.

These are uncomfortable truths and often difficult to accept. But the truth also unites us as a nation, brings us together to dispel anger and despair and embrace justice, harmony and trust instead.

Reconciliation is a way of life, continuous, with no end date. It is learning from our lived experiences and understanding each other. It creates the space necessary for our healing. It is planting seeds of hope and respect so that our garden will flourish for our children.

As we strive to recognize the horrors of the past, the suffering inflicted on indigenous peoples, let us all stand side by side with grace and humility, and work together to build a better future for all.

Marie Mai Simon

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SOURCE Governor General of Canada

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