Last month in class we were given the opportunity to attend a lecture given by Justice Murray Sinclair, who is the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This lecture gave me the opportunity to learn more about the TRC and about the process of reconciliation in Canada. During his lecture talked about four important questions that every child should one day be able to answer:
1.Where do I come from?
2.Where am I going?
3.Why am I here?
4.Who am I?
What really stuck with me during Justice Murray Sinclair’s speech was when he spoke about his childhood. I was really able to relate to his story about often being told to tell people he was French or Spanish when asked his background. I am a Metis woman who also struggled with my identity. I found out that I was Metis when I was high school, and when I discovered this I wanted to learn more about my families background and where I come from. While investigating into my family I learned I was not told about my culture because my grandma, great grandma, and those before her were taught to hide their Metis culture. When asking my grandma about our families past you could see the teachings that was instilled in her which I would not recognizing till much later. She told me that we were french, and we were not tell anyone else otherwise. At this time I was furious with what she was telling me, why would my grandma deny who she is and were she comes from?
I would later learn this was a vicious cycle. My grandma was taught to hide who she was, just as Justice Murray Sinclair said he was told to tell people he was French or Spanish. Just as Murray Sinclair said his grandmother said she did it to save his life, my grandma told me she and her mother did it in order to save their family from being mistreated and bullied. My heart now aches for my grandma and those before her. My furry has now diminished and I do not blame, but I know there needs to be a change. I have spent the rest of my life trying to find out more about who I am and my Metis culture. I want the rest of my family to have access to where they come from and their background, because as a future teacher I have learned about the circle of courage and how important our human needs of Belonging, Mastery, Independence, and Generosity are.
Through Justice Murray Sinclair speech he talks about the power of education and through knowledge comes understanding. I believe this was a very powerful message. I believe that if we can teach in schools about treaty education we can make a change. Teaching this knowledge is not to guilt people in what happened, ” truth hurts sometimes, but silence kills”.
What we are doing might not change things now, but I believe we will begin to see changes in the future generations. Although we feel shame and that it is hard to talk about, it is important to learn about history in order to understand change, as well as make change. ” The road we travel is equal in importance to the destination we seek. There are no shortcuts. When it comes to truth and reconciliation, we are all forced to go the distance”- Justice Murray Sinclair, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.