Open Letter to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

April 05, 2013

letter writing, paper and pen
Photo: Unsplash

To the TRC:

When I was a little boy, I faked being sick lots so I wouldn't have to go to school, so I missed a lot of school. I did it because I didn't like the way I was treated because of the color of my skin, or the culture I was born into. I loved my culture, because my nunies, chinies, mom, dad, aunts, uncles, and ancestors were all from our beautiful culture. I didn't like the way the teachers talked about our people, or about our culture. I love the fact that my mother and father always, always talked our language to each other, and to all the visitors who came to our house. I love the fact that my mom told me stories all the time about our culture, and the stories she was told when she was a little girl. I also love the fact that both my parents always told me I had to go and sit with all the elders who told me stories over and over again about who we were as Haida people, and where we belong in this big world. They were my nunies, chinies, chiefs, carvers, and historians.

I am also glad that my parents, when the buses would come to take the kids away from our village to the residential schools, took us to Cooper Bay for months at a time to hide us from the Indian agents. But, I am also very sad that my parents, and my brothers had to go to residential school.

I sincerely hope that what you are doing will help the people who went to those schools. I will attend another Truth and Reconciliation conference at UBC to hopefully understand why this happened to our people, our families, our friends, and what can be done to help them, and ourselves.

I hope mostly that my children will never have to go through what we did, because, you see, my son acts sick once in while, and from my experience I know someone has said something to him that he doesn't like, and usually after much questioning he tells what has been said about First Nations people. So there has to be more education about us in the school system of Canada, and in the world so that those who do not know this history become aware and understand.

Thank you for your attention.

Andy Wilson

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Topics: Indian Residential Schools

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