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LETTER: We have to do better

On June 4, during the March for Recognition of Residential Schools, there was an alleged incident, whereupon a local resident took it upon himself to drive through the crowd, hitting four people and causing minor injuries.

In my opinion, the initial response from the RCMP was to dismiss it as being motivated by impatience, despite ready evidence to the contrary. It seems that now, after a public outcry, the RCMP is taking the incident more seriously, although there are those that are understandably skeptical about any investigation that occurs after what I feel was a lackluster start.

This is why we need to do the work of anti-racism, along with Truth and Reconciliation.

As a teacher in Mission Public Schools, I have heard racist remarks being made and made efforts to correct my students, knowing that the racist turns of phrase were likely learned at home, or in the greater community. That one of our citizens was able to arrive at a place where driving into human beings made sense is further demonstration that we need to keep the work going forward.

For us to be reconciled requires, at a minimum, that we stop harming the injured party.

Clearly we’re not there yet.

On behalf of the public school teachers of Mission, I’d like to ask all of you to do something to do the work of reconciliation. Maybe you’ll find a reliable article or book that will render you better educated on the matter.

Maybe you’ll make yourself justify your own assumptions about Indigenous people in our communities, likely learning something in the process.

Maybe you’ll just walk through Heritage Park, and take a long, hard look at the crumbling foundations of a residential school, understanding that they were built and funded with the intent of erasing Indigenous language and culture.

Do you doubt it? Please refer to the words of our first Prime Minister when addressing the house of commons:

“When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with his parents who are savages; he is surrounded by savages … He is simply a savage who can read and write”

We know better, and we must do better, and that can only happen one person, nay, one heart at a time.

Please start the work. Please start today.

Ryan McCarty

President

Mission Teachers Union