Survivors of Canadian Anglican residential school abuse of native children are speaking out to heal from all they suffered. The Anglican Journal writes:
Archbishop Fred Hiltz on July 1 paid tribute to former residential school students, saying he heard “many expressions of courage” from them as they gathered here for the Northern National Event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).
Many showed courage in telling their stories and “taking first steps on the journey of healing,” Archbishop Hiltz said, addressing former students—many of them now in their 60s and 70s, who travelled by land, air and sea to attend the event. Others, he added, showed tremendous courage in “persevering in that journey even when the steps are hard,” and others, “in declaring yourselves no longer a number but an individual, a person, with a name given to you by your parents, with a right to live, to be healthy and happy.”
The purpose of the event, the second of seven such events set to take place across Canada over five years, is to help survivors to come together and teach each other to heal and to give them the opportunity to share their stories and to talk about their experiences in Canada’s residential school system.
Residential schools were built by the government and operated by the church. The first was opened in 1883 and the last one closed in 1996. During this time, more than 150,000 aboriginal children filled 130 schools throughout Canada, with about 40 of them found in the north of the country.