Born and raised in Prince Albert and area, I went to school and worked with the indigenous people of Saskatchewan.
The racism was/is so prevalent there that only after moving away and upon reflection did I see how entrenched it is. The June 2014 sexual assault, severe beating, setting alight and near murder of the homeless Marlene Bird in P.A. appears to be a classic example of the mindset of a racist seeing aboriginals of little value. It is not a coincidence that the demands for an inquiry into the causes of the over 1,100 missing and murdered aboriginal women are getting louder and harder for our Prime Minister to ignore.
An article on Page 33 in the Jan. 22 Comox Valley Record, “Residential school teacher addresses personal experience” has prompted me to write this letter. Courtenay resident Florence Kaefer attended the Truth and Reconciliation Commission held in Vancouver where in an interview with CBC she tells the story of her encounter with her former student Edward Gamblin and their enduring deep friendship. I am thankful to have heard her story and have shared it with many as a meagre attempt to have our society mature and unshackle our country from the anchor of racism.
I am including this link to the interview (bit.ly/1t6KFPW). Please listen to this interview with Ms. Kaefer and Edward Gamblin’s story in song Survivors Voice where he asks “Why just me? Canada Heal With Me” .
It is noteworthy that only in the last few years is the word racism being used openly . This is a must if we are to address this tragic and unacceptable state of affairs.