To the Editor,
Picking up on Frank Sterle’s letter from May 26: Throughout history, when one group of people has absolute power over another group of people, atrocities and dehumanization occurs.
Examples include: The Nazis in Germany over the Jews; Black slaves in the USA and, although slavery as ended, it continues today through the racism and atrocities it’s still perpetrating; and loyal Japanese-Canadian citizens stripped of their possessions and moved to internment camps in B.C. and Alberta during WWII, their possessions, boats, houses, etc. all sold off to white persons who resented their successful lifestyle.
So you see, absolute power does corrupt absolutely.
In the case of Indigenous peoples, the reserve system, the Indian Act and the ’60s scoop of Indigenous children were all attempts at cultural genocide which continues today in the form of racism. Governments and religious organizations are both guilty of this tragedy.
Otherwise good people can do bad things while sincerely believing that they are doing them for the good of the victims. What was discovered at the former Kamloops residential school was undoubtedly repeated in other such schools across Canada. Were these children neglected, abused, beaten for speaking their own language – probably. The traumatized survivors knew, but nobody listened.
Can we as a people and as a country undo what has been done? No. But we can ask forgiveness and make sure that the damage still being done in many forms is confronted and stopped.
The evils of the past, present and future are and were being done with our blessing, but we can change that by admitting our responsibility and changing the way we treat others who are different from ourselves.