Joyce Hunter, right, whose brother Charlie Hunter died at St. Anne’s Residential School in 1974, and Stephanie Scott, staff at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, lay down a ceremonial cloth with the names of 2,800 children who died in residential schools (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

Joyce Hunter, right, whose brother Charlie Hunter died at St. Anne’s Residential School in 1974, and Stephanie Scott, staff at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, lay down a ceremonial cloth with the names of 2,800 children who died in residential schools (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

LETTER: Young future leaders of Canada need to learn about residential schools

This letter was originally a Facebook comment, responding to a story entitled ‘Advisers suggest Alberta students not learn about residential schools before Grade 4.’ A draft of proposed Alberta curriculum changes suggests that children younger than Grade 4 would be “too emotionally vulnerable to learn about residential schools.” This was contrasted by Senator Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, who said there had been no evidence that having survivors of residential schools share their stories to young children was damaging.

Editor:

But it was OK to remove them at that age and subject them to horrible atrocities. Maybe if children learned at an early age, we will raise a generation to be compassionate human beings and this sort of thing won’t repeat itself.

The systemic racism still exists in this country and it is surfacing in full force. This happened. The truth is the truth and needs to be told for the healing to begin. That in itself will take generations.

The impact of being taken away forcibly at this age is just unbelievable. Young children understand better than anyone as they have open minds.

This was genocide, no different than what the Nazis did to the Jews. In fact it’s very similar. We were given a number, put on reserves which is…a concentration camp…to starve and not allowed to leave. Our children were taken away to have the Indian taken out of them, by using whatever it took including murder, rape, starving, horrible beatings, etcetera.

The truth needs to be told and the younger the better.

This is the age where the foundations start for our future generations that will be the Canadian citizens that run our country.

Teresa Walker

AlbertaLetter to the Editorresidential schools