Earlier this week, we arrived at YFC to find a graffiti message on the side of our building that reflected the pain and anger so many are feeling in the wake of the discovery of the bodies of 215 children outside a residential school site in BC. We acknowledge the pain and the truth behind this message.
To be Canadian is to live in the shadow of the legacy of the residential school system – a system that is not ancient history, but an ongoing tragedy.
To be a Christian in Canada is to wrestle with the church’s role in that legacy. It is both heartbreaking and sickening, but we must not look away. We cannot look away.
The discovery of 215 precious children in a mass grave at the site of a residential school is heart-wrenching confirmation of a horror that so many already knew was true.
Being a Christian, following a Creator who taught us that our treatment of the most vulnerable among us reflects our relationship with Him (Matthew 25), we must acknowledge and understand the pain and suffering so many are feeling, and ask for forgiveness for all the times the actions of the church has not reflected the nature or teachings of Jesus.
Being a part of an inter-denominational, faith-based organization whose heart is to love and serve young people, staring this atrocity in the face has impacted us deeply. In our work we journey alongside many Indigenous youth. We see their faces in the midst of this inter-generational trauma. We are working to acknowledge the pain, to learn, and to stand beside them. For all the families we know and love, and for those we don’t know yet, we want to listen to their stories, learn from them, and walk side by side.
If you drive by our building today, you will see a different message. Now, there are 215 orange ribbons… one for every child in that unmarked grave.
Our heart is to journey in a good way towards love, justice, and reconciliation.
We are heart-broken. We are learning. We will not look away.
What we ask of you, our friends, partners, and stakeholders:
Please join us in praying for all the families directly and indirectly impacted by this discovery.
Consider adding your voice in asking the government and the churches involved to ensure other residential school sites are properly investigated, and that pertinent records are released to the appropriate authorities/communities.
Take time to familiarize yourself with the recommendations of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s report, and with the Doctrine of Discovery, and ask God how you can best live out Micah 6:8 “…the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”