On a late Wednesday afternoon, members of Vanderhoof’s Good Neighbours Committee gathered in Ferland Park to better understand the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report.
August, 18 was the first of nine sessions to listen, learn and share in dialogue in a safe space.
Good Neighbours Committee member Sylvia Byron said the non-formal event was also to bring awareness and foster reconciliation.
The remains of 215 children found buried in unmarked graves on the former Kamloops Indian Residential School site earlier this year sparked grief and outage.
For many Indigenous peoples it was not a discovery, but a confirmation of what they had been saying for decades about Canada’s Indian residential school system that former Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a 2008 apology sought to ‘civilize’ and Christianize, and, ultimately, assimilate Aboriginal people into Canadian society.
“One of the things that I kept hearing over and over again is read the TRC calls to action,” Byron said.
“That’s an important piece for everybody to learn, and I should have read them when they first came out in 2015, but I did not. So I thought lots of other people who also want to move forward probably want to do that.”
There is a total of 94 calls to action offered by the TRC that all levels of government have been urged to complete.
Byron said she believes non-Indigenous Canadians need to take responsibility to learn more about the TRC calls to action.
“I don’t want to forget, and I don’t want people in Vanderhoof to forget,” she said.
“It wasn’t just a one-time thing finding the 215 bodies—it’s ongoing, and that still is. So our job is to become educated, and this is just one little piece of that.”
The sessions will continue every Wednesday starting at 5:30 p.m. in Ferland Park until mid-October.