This is one in a series of dispatches from David G. Newman, who attended the recent Rotary World Peace Conference 2016 in Ontario, California. These stories are inspired by the organizers and presenters to this peace conference and are posted by Mr. Newman on CNC as part of the process of advancing Positive Peace in Winnipeg.
Speaking to a workshop of about 30 Rotarians, and in the presence of Native American speakers also presenting, Chief Stacey LaForme of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation in Ontario uses poetry he has written and his historical narrative to convey with great power the impacts of assimilation and residential schools, racism and misunderstanding of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
“I believe an oppressed people remain oppressed unless there is confrontation or unless the other people [dominant society] evolve and value other people,” concluded Chief LaForme.
“Then there is opportunity without that [confrontation].”
We can all be grateful that so far, violence has not been the choice of Canada’s oppressed Indigenous Peoples.
It is now up to each non-Indigenous Canadian to choose to support the implementation of the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada to the greatest extent reasonably practical.
Understanding, goodwill, peace and compassionate action in a good way is required. Time for the process of mutual respect and reconciliation to begin in earnest.