Richard’s TRC Reflections

By 1JustCity
June 9, 2015
Richard Baschak

Richard Baschak

Cultural genocide, thousands of children dead while in care, horrific abuse and neglect! We are learning about what occurred in the era of Indian Residential Schools.

In the mid 60’s our family briefly hosted a young girl in our home. I don’t even remember her name, but I do remember she seemed very shy. My mother was employed at Indian Affairs, the 60’s scoop was on, and our guest was one of thousands of children wrenched from their homes and communities, part of a sustained deliberate effort to conform the first peoples of this land to the values of the dominant culture.

As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report enters our collective conscience this week there should be no doubt that this is evidence of our darkest behaviour as Canadians. I went to listen when the TRC held events at the Forks in Winnipeg. Hard as it was to listen to the stories of those who shared, I felt the truth that was being told was not done so in a spirit of blame. I was humbled as I witnessed the strength of survivors.

This is not a shaming, this is not about guilt. This is truth telling. An opportunity for truth to be told, and be heard. For me this is about listening and learning. And its about justice, real justice. We are all treaty people together on this land. The treaties bind us together. This is about listening, learning and doing what we can as individuals, communities and as a society as we work toward reconciliation and right relations.

While I can act as an individual to right relations, I can also act in a collective. 1JustCity provides such an opportunity. Direct volunteering opens my world up to relations with many folks including people from the First Nations community. My support of, and advocacy for 1JustCity strengthens the cause of social justice in our city.

The release of the TRC report and recommendations clearly draws attention to a socially-engineered tragedy with multi-generational consequences. People often come together in times of tragedy, whether by jumping in a river to rescue someone drowning or sandbagging against a rising river. We have choice both as individuals and in our actions in groups.

Listen to the stories told by survivors, consider the recommendations made by the TRC commissioners, and then act out justice in your life. Consider 1JustCity as a vehicle for your expression of social justice in our city.

In solidarity,

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