June 1, 2008
I want to congratulate and thank Don Sandberg for his honest, candid and courageous article on residential schools in today's WFP. We need more articles like this from people like you who can sift through the mis-information and partial truths. I have thought for some time that we have not been getting the full story and now am grateful for at least some confirmation. If there are other articles like this which you can direct me to, I'd be grateful.
Through this whole debate on residential schools I have wondered whether the project was wrong, or if it was just wrongly administered and that the terms of reference were too strict. From Don's article, it seems that there were many who benefited. We know from experiences in Quebec that the Catholic Church has much to explain from the Duplessi era.
There can be no excuse or explanation for abuse and brutality. But things have changed a great deal over the past 50 -60 years - or even the past ten. Human rights issues have made living much better, but we can't go back and judge the pasts actions by today's rule and standards - we can only learn from the past and move positively ahead.
I can recall in my school days punishment for seemingly small offences by the strap, or sitting in a corner with the dunce cap, etc. was a common occurrence. This was both painful and humiliating as often the punishment was metered out in front of the class. I was "punished" by a miserable old teacher for getting up on the wrong side of the desk or for letting the seat crash down. Should we go after the teachers, schools or government for this abuse? No, we move ahead and not always look behind bemoaning the past.
Thanks for listening, and I'll look forward to reading / receiving any similar articles.
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