Magazine article Anglican Journal

Revenge Not the Answer to Scourge of Residential Schools

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Revenge Not the Answer to Scourge of Residential Schools

Article excerpt

BOARDING SCHOOLS have been the scourge of our people -- and it appears the effects will linger for some time yet.

Boarding schools attracted pedophiles, sadists, and other misfits who preyed on helpless Indian children.

The boarding schools left us with a legacy of pain and family dysfunction. To think that things would return to normal with the schools' closure is naive in the extreme.

Today, the churches and government are facing a plethora of lawsuits -- so many that some Roman Catholic, Anglican and United Church dioceses are starting to fear for their very survival. Bankruptcy is seen as a serious option.

This is an interesting turn of events. How do you sell off church property? What value do you place on a cathedral and who will buy it? The churches will be hard-pressed to come up with the damages assessed against them.

And how deep will this imbroglio go? The federal government has argued Gordon's First Nation is a party to the abuse that occurred at that boarding school. This completely cynical act by the government is designed to force the First Nations to apply the brakes to the process out of fear they will be dragged into paying for cash settlements.

Two tragedies are unfolding here.

First, this serious social problem is before the courts and in the hands of lawyers. The victims are case numbers and files in some lawyers' offices.

We are becoming an increasingly litigious society and anyone with a grievance can take it to court. This manner of hiring someone to do your fighting for you takes the victim out of the loop as points of law are debated and legal maneuvering takes place. The victim is once again a helpless spectator.

An important part of the healing journey is to take possession of your life. Many of our people have not had control over their own lives and have lived their lives on welfare, in jail or in other social services programs that treat us like cattle. …

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