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Silence and Complacency Equals Complicity in Aboriginal Issues

June 3, 2015

Yesterday, the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, delving into the atrocities perpetrated against aboriginals in Canada released its report and recommendations.

Most of my friends, family and colleagues have never met or worked with an aboriginal person.

Their knowledge and views are shaped by news reports where the news only reports overt negative behaviour of an aboriginal person and never the systemic destruction of their soul, their spirit, the family, their community, their culture. When they hear the recommendations of the TRC without appreciating the atrocities that gave rise to the recommendations, for some, their bias and prejudice remains.

Although the recommendations can be accessed here, I suggest that people acquaint themselves with the atrocities faced by aboriginal peoples at the hands of the dominating culture and ask yourselves, how well would you fare in those circumstances, those conditions, those abuses. How would you turn out? How would your children turn out or their children’s children?

Reconciliation will be more than a handshake and a trite apology.

Reconciliation requires the dominant culture to understand what aboriginal peoples were really subject to. Then, with that understanding can a heartfelt reconciliation be possible.

I believe this requires a re-writing of our history books from which children in school learn. Our children need to understand, unfiltered, what was done to aboriginals in order that our children may grow with compassion and appreciate their need to help in the reconciliation for atrocities carried out from before their birth.

These issues span generations before us and will span for generations to come.

It is time to be honest about our Canadian history, so that we truly can live in peace together with our aboriginal neighbours.

To my aboriginal friends and those I have yet to meet and become friends, my apology to you for any complicity on my part, likely mostly the result of silence and complacency.

No Canadian should be silent on this matter. With the voice of Canadians, then governments will have to stand up and find ways of making amends and restitution on behalf of the country. With a federal election looming, as we may ask the questions of candidates, let your candidates know that you want aboriginal issues settled as set out in the TRC set of recommendations.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker and seek to have my pride in Canada restored.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

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