SPENCER: Can you fathom the unfathomable?

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These are tough conversations to have.

These might be hard words to read.

These discussions are difficult, but how we can keep turning our heads the other way?

This past week, in our beautiful country, a reminder of the ugly truth was brought to the surface. Preliminary findings from a survey of the grounds at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School have uncovered the remains of 215 children buried at the site.

The trauma and the unhealed darkness of our country exposed in yet another horrid reminder of unfinished, unfathomable truths and the work that still needs to happen to bring reparations to our First Nation people.

Mindfulness teaches us to be aware of the current situation in its fullness and it’s entirety. Understanding and accepting what is, exactly as it is, warts and all. It is through this comprehension that we can move forward with truthful and repairing action. Our history class rooms and curriculum may have touched on the truths of our country and colonization but most of us have not had the privilege to fully consider the truth.

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A privilege you may ask? Yes, the position most of us sit in, is a place of privilege to read about it, to choose to acknowledge or to continue the discussion. It is a privilege to have these important conversations and learn the truth and I hope most of you will honour this.

You see, the last of the boarding schools for Indigenous peoples, which were funded by the Canadian Indian Affairs and administered by churches, closed the last residential school operated by the Canadian government, the Gordon Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan, in 1996. The residential school, that recently found the 215 Canadian Indigenous babies remains, closed when I was a little girl.

This means while many of us that have the privilege to decide to learn about this or not, there are thousands of people out there traumatized by the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and sexual abuse, the sterilization, the torture and the murder of their children, siblings and friends.

If you choose to fathom the unfathomable, the University of Alberta is offering a free course called Indigenous Canada. It is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada.

This is not a history moment as unfortunately the inexplicable inequality is a current reality for many. Not only the residential schools but the communities with undrinkable water systems and the indigenous missing women and girls.

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CBC reported, the RCMP collected files from Statistics Canada and 300 police forces across the country. It showed there were 164 Indigenous women who were missing and 1,017 Indigenous women who had been murdered over the past 30 years. As of last year, 61 Indigenous communities in Canada still faced water crisis.

Mindfulness teaches us awareness of what is, as it is, in this moment. Compassionate learning and empathy rather than the unfathomable trauma and pain experienced, is something we can all do as ancestors of colonized settlers. Learning more about the history of our country and our community in its fullest truth, assists everyone.

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