Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Some Random Thoughts on Truth & Reconciliation

So, I am not sure if this is breaking my hiatus from this blog as a permanent thing, as in returning to regular blog entries on the  issues I have been advocating on and exploring, or if I am just jotting some thoughts down to share my discord.  As you know, I recently resigned from my school district and I am happy that I did, I needed a change.  I am not sure what I am going to do with my future right now but I am, mostly, in a positive place. 

And yet...

It's three AM in the morning and I can't sleep.  I'm in Vancouver right now to attend committee meetings at the BC Teachers' Federation (I remain a member for at least six months after my resignation, to allow time to seek new employment if I decide to continue as a teacher or to allow time to wind down my obligations and responsibilities with the Federation if I choose to seek a new direction).  I've missed committee work but for my anxiety is in full force this morning.  I think it has to do with the Truth & Reconciliation Gathering going on this week, the Committee for Action on Social Justice, my new committee, will be attending on Thursday, and the BCTF members, who are able, will be participating in the Walk for Reconciliation on Thursday.

I've shared here before about the fact that my Grandpa attended Kamloops Residential School and the ghosts there haunt me whenever I am considering my role in education and resistance.  My own anxieties about my education offer clues to one element of the legacy of residential schools, I am grateful to have been spared the worse challenges faced by descendants of survivors but that doesn't change the fact I can't escape those ghosts.  All the discord I feel in considering everything around this is wrapped up in the unknowns currently taking place.  Idle No More woke up a lot of people in beautiful resurgence but also attracted much dormant hate as well as egos and the cracks in solidarity that follows any movement that doesn't find its proper focus.  I lost faith when the founders trademarked the name, called a Sovereignty Summer and then faded from consciousness.  I lost faith in those voices of Indigenous sovereignty that also called for more concrete action when they called for excluding those of us who weren't up to their standards of "Native."  I lost faith in those voices of advocacy that changed what we were trying to do to appeal to more allies by removing us from the important roles of guide and facilitator, ceding that authority to those we hope will be allies. 

I am torn by the knowledge that Kinder Morgan is one of the sponsors of the TRC event.  Particularly in light of the fact they wish to expand their pipeline through my reserve and, more importantly, the watershed that provides my drinking water.  In most respects, I am not going to let this dissuade me from attending as I see no problem with supporting the event while not supporting that particular company.  Just because they paid for it doesn't mean I have to support them.  The main concern is that the perception created by their sponsorship says that they are paying for reconciliation so they can get our support.  I see what the naysayers are worried about.  I worry too but I want to support our Elders and educators and students and that wins out.  Plus it is a teachable moment. 

I read that there might be protests at the event and that some leaders were outraged by the possibility.  How dare you show such disrespect for our Elders and their courage?  I wrote in my thesis project a few years ago about the idea of entitlement to pain Survivors had developed.  I was arguing that they also needed to recognize that other generations of Native people were also survivors and also victims and also courageous in their actions, something I believed was being denied by the survivors of residential schools.  My pain is more important than yours, so to speak.  I don't necessarily think this way anymore, though I do periodically see it.  I like to believe any protest outside the TRC event would be welcomed by survivors and Elders.  Our young people are standing up for their beliefs and their principles.  Can you think of a better way to honour our Elders and Survivors?

All this talk about reconciliation.

I don't know what reconciliation is.

I wish I did.  I don't think we are ready yet.  I don't think Canada is either.  Something I need to reflect on I guess.

No comments:

Post a Comment