Opinion

Our take: Community healing starts in our own homes

You’ve all heard the phrase used in discussion about a variety of social issues: it all starts in the home.

And for individuals to move past their issues they usually have to acknowledge them and confront them before families can move on and heal.

The same thing is true for communities.

Symptoms caused by issues within a community tend to fester and become issues indirectly shared by everyone living within it.

And just as with families, in order to heal communities must acknowledge the issues and confront them before they can heal and move on.

One would be forgiven for thinking that every person living within the Cowichan Valley must be well aware of the scars created here by the residential school system. Large efforts like Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s residential school apology and the North American Indigenous Games have worked in concert to smaller efforts like newspaper articles and racism workshops to make it seem inescapable.

But the sad fact of the matter is, this is still an issue that is, at best, poorly understood by too many Cowichan residents.

Sometimes, as described by Cowichan elder Ron George, or by visiting author Bev Sellars, the impact of residential schools on their lives is not even well understood by their families.

Sellars and George are two who are doing their part by sharing their stories. Those who went through similar experiences can do the same by sharing theirs.

What the rest need to do is simply to listen, to understand how being plucked from their families at a young age and being forced to assimilate into another culture could and did damage generations of people. And we can foster that understanding, that desire to move on and to help heal this community within our own families. It starts in the home.

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