‘How did a Third World country arrive right in the backyard of what they say is the greatest country in the world?’


city_scope_logo-cmykWith the drawing to a close this past week of Indigenous History Month and the horrific revelation of more bodies discovered in unmarked graves at another residential school, our conversation with Ray John took on increased significance.
He is an impassioned Indigenous cultural teacher at the London District Catholic School Board and with boards elsewhere in the province.
He has worked in the education field for more than 15 years and he says the mixed emotions of the past month have had a unifying effect in his Oneida community and within Indigenous communities elsewhere in the country.
“You drive up and down in our community and you see so many orange shirts. You see toys out there dedicated to the young ones that are gone.
“But there’s a real sense of unity here. It’s not that it wasn’t here before. I think it is more that we are supporting each other.”
John has been awarded for working “tirelessly in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation” and he stresses only through engaging in tough conversations will Canadians be able to educate themselves on Indigenous culture and the tyranny of residential schools.

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Closing a sordid chapter in the history of Canada


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Remember, reconcile, rejoice.

The three words that prompted City Scope to embark on a field trip this week to Chippewas of the Thames First Nation for the student commemorative gathering at the site of the former Mount Elgin Indian Residential School, near Muncey.

The two-day ceremony included the unveiling of a monument to the survivors of residential schools – a sordid chapter in this country’s history that eluded the radar of most Canadians until the
creation, in 2008, of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, whose mandate is to bring to light the truth about these schools and enlighten the populace.

Opened in 1851 and operated by Wesleyan Methodists in conjunction with the Department of Indian Affairs, Mount Elgin was sold to Christian Indian leaders as an opportunity to train their children to be political leaders, teachers, missionaries and interpreters.

That may well have been the case with some students but, in fact, Mount Elgin was a not-very-subtle move to assimilate First Nations people.
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