One of the things Chris and I learned about Vivian, the indigenous person we met at the Reconciliation event at the Pat Porter Active Living Centre, while eating a traditional indigenous meal of bison stew, Bannock, wild rice and ice cream with mixed summer berries, was the remarkable lack of resentment Vivian had. She seemed entirely free of it. How could that be, after all she was violently ripped away from her mother and father at the age of 5 by Canadian authorities in order to be civilized and brought to a completely strange school a long way from home? Who was civilized? Yet she was not filled with hate! She was filled with love and told us many stories about her family. Not all survivors of residential schools were as fortunate as she was.
At the Pat Porter centre in Steinbach, we were shown a short emotional video with comments from survivors of residential schools. Audrey Desvents, one of the survivors wisely said this, “By forgiving the Church and by and forgiving the abusers and not carrying all of that garbage with us wherever we go we invest in our own healing.” Another survivor, Ted Fontaine said people asked him what he hoped to achieve by railing against the residential schools? His answer was “freedom. I am free.” He did it to free himself from hate!
People who can live without hate are lucky people.