On January 19, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, in partnership with the First Nations University of Canada, held a speakers’ series event in Regina. At this event, Archbishop Donald Bolen (Archdiocese of Regina), and head of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, spoke to over 75 attendees.
Students, faculty, and invited guests, listened to Bolen discuss the role of churches in the pursuit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. The Archbishop observed that, “we need to know the truth of our history, including the mistakes and sins of our people, if we are to walk the path of reconciliation, if we are to live well and honestly and honourably on this land. The TRC opens a path to healing by bringing to light the experience of a profound suffering. To read the TRC final report is to listen to waves of suffering and the pain as a result of colonization, as a result of the Indian Act, as a result of residential schools.”
Bolen noted that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report offered a constructive and inclusive vision for the churches to participate in reconciliation. The report, “doesn't write off the churches, rather it calls the churches to act and proposes specific steps – it invites solidarity, engagement, and responsibility. It invites churches into a conversation and summons them to be actively engaged in the work of reconciliation and renewal, working towards building a different kind of future. I am profoundly grateful for that invitation,” said Bolen.
In his concluding remarks, Chief Commissioner David Arnot reminded the attendees that the path to reconciliation requires everyone to understand and acknowledge the past. He observed that understanding, knowledge, and hope for a better future would help enable reconciliation.