Magazine article Anglican Journal

Residential Schools-Where Do We Go from Here?

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Residential Schools-Where Do We Go from Here?

Article excerpt

WE KNOW THAT past injustices within the Indian residential schools system wrought both a spiritual and financial cost, but are lawsuits and financial compensation the way to mend this?

Healing the brokenness of a spirit that has undergone the dehumanization associated uith physical, emotional, or sexual abuse cannot truly be understood by those of us who did not experience this type of trauma in our own lives. We empathize to the best of our ability, just as we try on Good Friday to understand the trial and suffering our Saviour endured on the cross. Neither is possible.

However, whatever our personal experience or understanding, each of us must realize that, in the long term, financial compensation alone cannot contribute effectively to spiritual reconciliation. The path from brokenness to wholeness can only be served through a process of spiritual-healing with understanding and acceptance forming the base, and forgiveness the fundamental outcome.

In our current secular life, injustices perpetrated against each other must often be resolved through court action, the inference being that financial compensation can balance injustice and contribute toward healing of the spirit. In fact, the lawsuits and the money can be a barrier to genuine healing, both within each person and in the wider relationship in the church.

The issue of residential schools abuse cannot be ignored or diminished, but we, as the Anglican Church, must pause and reflect on the potential outcome. As civil suits continue to be brought, the church, as our spiritual foundation, is faced with an ever-increasing financial threat to its survival amid all the other escalating costs. Indeed, the concern about money and liability can even deflect us from our main task of healing and growing together.

Our Primate, Michael Peers, issued an apology to Aboriginal people for the trauma Native children suffered when in the care of church-administered schools. …

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