Truth and Reconciliation Commission Event

bigstock-Native-American-3931847January 30, 2014 – The CBWC would like to encourage all those who attend CBWC churches to participate in the upcoming session of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Edmonton, March 27-30.

Attending the seventh and final national Truth and Reconciliation event at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton is a great way to increase understanding of the history and realities of indigenous people in Canada, and to try to make stronger connections with indigenous communities.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is hosting local hearings and larger national events across Canada to acknowledge the facts and impacts of residential schools on aboriginal children, their families and communities. It aims to facilitate reconciliation by providing a safe and culturally appropriate context for survivors to share their stories as a way to begin healing the broken relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people.

The Canadian government ran more than 139 residential schools for aboriginal children from the early 1840s onwards, closing the last one in 1996. Most of these schools were located in Western and Northern Canada and were run by the Catholic (60%), Anglican (30%) and United Churches (10%). During this 150 year period, more than 150,000 aboriginal, Métis and Inuit children were taken by force from their parents and communities to place them in schools far from home.

The purpose of removing children to the schools was to “take the Indian out of the child”, a program of cultural assimilation. Many of these children were subjected to physical and sexual abuse. In some schools, especially before 1945, more than half the children died from malnutrition and disease. While some good was done at the schools, the overall impact of atrocities on many of these children, their families, their communities and on relationships between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people was tragic and devastating and the affects remain to this day.

Although Baptists were involved in running only one of the residential schools (in the Yukon), as Christians and as Canadians, we seek reconciliation in the name of Jesus Christ. We encourage you to attend this free event.
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