As Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) releases its final report about the residential school system for aboriginal children we wonder, where is Canada's catharsis? With little media coverage up until the release of the final report, and even less public engagement, Canada has had no such emotionally transformative moment. Canada needs reconciliation. The last residential school only closed in 1996. All aboriginal communities still suffer from their impact
On September 13, 1976, I became one of the "Disappeared" in Argentina's Dirty War and I became a witness and a voice for those who could no longer speak. The search for truth, justice and memory can be a painful one and it is never easy work but I have seen the rewards. This is why I passionately believe in the work of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The reparations of relations between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples need allies. Allies that support and respect differing worldviews. This is about nation building.
On balance, however, this was not a good year for world peace. Russian aggression in Crimea and the Ukraine, and the West's response, pushed the world closer to a new Cold War. Revelations about the CIA's use of torture were enough to shake anyone's faith in the goodness of humanity. Meanwhile, the Middle East spiralled downward with greater violence in Gaza, Syria and Iraq. At home we are still not on track to meet our emissions targets. And the strongest praise environmentalists could muster for the climate change deal reached in Lima, Peru, last week was to wince and say it is "better than nothing."
There is no discussion of the fact that part of the reason Mandela was sent to prison was because he was responsible for bombing a power plant. Though we seem to like to imagine that Mandela brought change to South Africa with nothing but wise words and a kind, grandfatherly smile, the truth is very different. Mandela fought for his freedom, tooth and nail.
Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat did not launch a hunger strike over a single piece of legislation. In short, this is what we have always been talking about. Whether the particular focus has been on housing, or education or the environment, or whatever else. What lies at the heart of all these issues is our relationship with Canada. And Canada? This relationship is abusive. We have been backed into a corner and we are literally fighting for our lives. We are literally dying, in so many preventable and unacceptable ways. I'm not being poetic or hyperbolic here and I don't just mean culturally. We are dying. I need you -- WE need you, to see the forest and not just the trees.
There is always something to be thankful for, even when we may think there isn't. Being thankful has helped me to cultivate an attitude which, when continually fostered, has helped my life to be more positively memorable, joyful and meaningful. I've learned that thankfulness helps create positive thoughts, which creates positive emotions, which then creates positive energy.