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Deloris Netmaker & Karen Bird

Workshop: Overcoming Racial Barriers Through Truth and Reconciliation

In Canada,the Indian Residential School system was a network of boarding schools for Indigenous peoples. The school system was created for the purpose of removing children from the influence of their own culture and assimilating them into the dominant Canadian culture.Roughly, 150,000 of Indigenous children were placed in Residential schools nationally. At least 6,000 are estimated to have died while in residents. The schools were intentionally located far away from Indigenous communities to minimize contact between families and their children. 

The impact of the Residential School system was very significant and caused much harm to the Indigenous children and the family system. Removing the children from their families, depriving them of speaking their language, exposing them to sexual and physical abuse. As a result many Indigenous people suffer of post-traumatic stress, alcoholism, substance abuse and suicide and continues in Indigenous communities. 

In 2008 a public apology was made by Prime Minister Harper and thus we have the Truth and Reconciliation. The truth was told by many Residential School survivors of their experiences. 

As children of God how do we address this and move forward?  How do we walk in Unity?