Cassidy Dankochik joined the Observer’s staff in Aug. of 2020 by way of Gimli, Altona, and Flin Flon, Manitoba. (Photo by Tracey Roberts)

COLUMN: Reconciliation impossible without truth

Cassidy Dankochik is the editor of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer

The discovery of 215 children buried in unmarked graves at a Kamloops residential school was shocking, but not surprising.

I was lucky enough to have not only a high school teacher who showed me the facts related to residential schools, but also have participated in exercises that allowed me to emotionally connect with the facts of what the Canadian government did.

There will be no reconciliation without the complete truth.

There’s a phrase sometimes used for terrible evils — “unspeakable.” We must not let these events become unspeakable. As uncomfortable as it is, as hard as it will be, there can be no reconciliation without truth, and for much of what happened at residential schools, much truth remains to be unveiled.

READ MORE: Trudeau’s acknowledgment of Indigenous genocide could have legal impacts: experts

Each and every residential school location in Canada needs to be investigated, and we must not shy away from their horrors.

The survivors who are brave enough to share their stories are a blessing. Listen to them.

I reject the phrase “a single life lost is a tragedy, while a million lives lost is a statistic,” and commit right now to do everything I can to make sure not to turn the deaths of children into a statistic.

Each one of the lives lost at a residential school, never to return home, a mystery to their communities, is sickening.

Don’t look away from this. Stare into it and listen to the survivors who are willing to share their truth with you.

Cassidy Dankochik is the editor of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer.

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Quesnel Cariboo Observer