Magazine article Anglican Journal

Residential Schools Matter to Sikhs

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Residential Schools Matter to Sikhs

Article excerpt

"There's something that breaks inside of us when we go through a trauma, an atrocity, and we turn for help to people, and they turn their faces away. For years, we Canadians have turned our faces from the reality of residential schools..."

With these words, Canadian Sikhs recently acknowledged that as a faith community they remained silent or paid no attention when about 150,000 aboriginal children were taken from their homes and sent to boarding schools across the country from the 1860s up to 1996.

In a 3:49 minute video, It Matters: The Legacy of Residential Schools, released on YouTube last June, members of the World Sikh Organization (WSO) of Canada vowed to help educate Canadian Sikhs about the Indian residential schools legacy.

The idea for a video came after Lori Ransom, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's (TRC) senior advisor for churches and faith communities, contacted the WS0 to see if it would be interested in learning more about the residential schools legacy and the TRC's work.

"When we spoke, it very much resonated in my heart as a Sikh because our faith was started in the crucible of social justice," said Sukhvinder Kaur Vinning, WSO executive director. "One of our mandates as Sikhs is to assist our neighbours when they are unable to help themselves, to be their voice if they are unable to speak for themselves and to help shed light on very dark situations."

The video--and four others set to be released--are an opportunity for Canadian Sikhs to practise their value of Sarbath da Bhala, or "working for the upliftment of all," said Vinning, who also appears in the video. …

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