Elder Daniel N. Paul on Truth and Reconciliation
In June, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) held its first National Event in Winnipeg. The aim of the event, and of the commission itself, was to raise awareness to all Canadians about the government policy of cultural destruction that was the Indian Residential School system, and to educate future generations of the severe impacts this system continues to have on First Nations communities. The issue of reconciliation remains a contentious issue among First Nation and non-aboriginal communities alike.
Elder Daniel N. Paul, is a powerful and passionate advocate for social justice and the eradication of racial discrimination. As an author, journalist, consultant and volunteer, he has been an outspoken champion of First Nations communities across Nova Scotia for more than thirty years. Through his newspaper columns and his book, We Were Not The Savages – First Nations History, he has helped to restore the proud heritage and history of the Mi’kmaq Nation.The following excerpt, written by Paul, will appear in the forthcoming fifth edition of Power & Resistance (Fernwood Publishing).
As far as the so called Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is concerned I expect that it will accomplish what the 1993 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Affairs accomplished, which was next to nothing, except for use as a federal propaganda tool… Although the Federal Crown would like to continue with the hoax that Indian Residential Schools was the only means it used to try to destroy First Nations, it should be revealed that the schools were only a small part of the overall effort…
What this country needs is a full fledged Royal Commission crossing this country as a body, with the widest terms of reference, and the ability to call people to testify under oath before it to discover and lay bear the complete truth about Canada’s past mistreatment of Registered Indians. Although the Federal Crown would like to continue with the hoax that Indian Residential Schools was the only means it used to try to destroy First Nations, it should be revealed that the schools were only a small part of the overall effort. Medical experimentation, the past inhumane lack of proper diets, medical treatment, education, proper housing, centralization, Indian Day Schools, scalp proclamations, the gross racism that the people have consistently been degraded by, all horrors, barring none, should be on the table for examination. When this happens, and only then, will justice finally arrive for the abuses suffered by our Peoples, over the ages, at the hands of British and Canadian governments.