Under the umbrella heading of “Pathways to Reconciliation,” Church of the Holy Trinity and St. Mark-Ocean Park co-hosted the second of four gatherings on Saturday March 5 at St Mark’s church hall.
More than 50 from both parishes gathered to hear Lynda Gray present on her book “First Nations 101: tons of stuff you need to know about First Nations people.” Lynda is a member of the Tsimshian Nation and the Gisbutwada Clan (Killerwhale). She captivated the audience for over an hour sharing her perspective of how the British North America Act and later the Indian Act were used to colonize and subjugate Indigenous Peoples. These two Canadian Laws laid the foundation for residential schools built across the country as a way to “kill the Indian in the child”.
After Lynda’s inspiring address, she took questions and comments from the floor. Of the many positive perspectives one common thread arose: participants were surprised that none of the issues raised in Lynda’s book were in the curricula of Canadian schools . Many expressed their astonishment at learning from Lynda how governance systems dismantled traditional structures, how indigenous economies were obliterated, and how residential schools tore families apart, to mention a few of the themes raised by members of the audience.
Lynda reminded the gathering that Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action provide a roadmap for the future. She also gave examples of simple, and meaningful actions that every Canadian can perform if they wish to be allies with First Nations, Métis and Inuit. She stressed that listening to Indigenous voices, reading the truth about our history, and gathering to share knowledge will contribute to reconciliation.
The group gathered at St. Mark's hall gave Lynda a standing ovation and, through the moderator, thanked her for her grace, her willingness to share and for her leadership.
The next gathering will be held on Saturday April 2, 1:30 – 4:30pm and will explore The Indian Act and Residential Schools in more detail. This is a free event and open to the public.