June 8, 2008 Thinking about tomorrow

Tomorrow is my first day at Anishinabe. On the 11th of this month, Wednesday, the government of Canada is issuing an apology to First Nations people for the legacy of the Residential School System. All the communications media are flooded with stories and opinions about the past and the expectations for the apology. I am going to be in a unique place to observe this momentous occasion when Prime Minister Harper speaks on behalf of the Canadian government.

I have actually just returned from Ottawa. I was there for a week to attend the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church as a resource person on behalf of St. Andrew’s Hall and Vancouver School of Theology. While there I had a disturbing conversation with my sister’s coworkers, members of the RCMP. The attitudes towards First Nation’s people was alarming, sterotypical and less than humane. How can relationships improve when some people (professions?) have such a disregard for a segment of our society?! I asked one why he wanted to be a police officer. “To do good and fight evil!” was his response. I came away wondering what his conception of evil was…

It’s all very discouraging to think that those hired to ‘serve and protect’ would treat people that way and expect society to become ‘good’!

I expect the coming week is going to become a very emotionally charged experience.

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