By Ray Aldred,
Terry LeBlanc and
“native identity Reconciled” by michael Jacobs.
How can we avoid making healing solely the responsibility of the victims of aboriginal residential
schools? What might societal repentance and not assimilating First Nations people look like?
A forgiveness summit bringing First Peoples and others together in Ottawa is being planned for June 11–13, 2010. Responding to the Prime Minister’s apology of June 11, 2008, the litera- ture and web announcements for “Forgiven”
at www.i4give.ca indicate the intention to “release forgiveness to the federal government.” Let’s step back and reflect
on this whole idea.
Each of us is on our own journey on the circle of the
earth, and so we write from our own hearts – for us, it is from
who we are as aboriginal people, as we try to think through
the idea of forgiveness, the processes this might entail and
the outcomes it might give birth to.
It’s probably important to say at the outset that we believe in forgiveness – both the need for and the healing
value of forgiving those who have wronged us. The Bible
and our own consciences call out to us to be forgiving
people. We have all seen how unforgiveness can lead
people to bitterness and self-absorption with pain. There
are, however, concepts about the way forgiveness is given
and received, proceeding from both experience and biblical teaching, which need to be centred in the process.
This is not the first time efforts at reconciliation have been
undertaken, led by First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. In
1995 Elijah Harper, following a serious illness during which
he was given a vision of the problem engulfing Canada,