The burning of churches has disturbed me as has the atrocities of the residential schools (which has finally come to full societal awareness). Even on indigenous land, the idea of destroying those places of worship of people who use it collectively for expression of” belief” disturbs me. Mostly because Canada at one time said “there is no room for you”. It hurts to see the same expression “there is no room for you” in any nation.
For those that react as individuals in a destructive manner, it is always easier to destroy than create. It take no effort. It expresses a vast hatred for people today that had nothing to do with the atrocity, as does taking on the victimhood of the past as a personal identity. Acknowledging history, its wrongs, leaves no group untouched. At the same time, it is not “persecution” to belong to a group that is currently being scrutinized for its institution’s action (or inaction).
There are many past inhumane actions by states and religions that are below the surface. Internment of the Japanese Canadians. The treatment of conscientious objectors during the World Wars in Canada. The forced sterilization of the “mentally retarded” in Canada. The withholding of equality (as in value) of women and LGBTQ and race, in Canada. Our human history is build on many atrocities towards “groups”. Legally today, we have (as a society) moved forward in all these various “human” issues.
There are also inhumane treatment by fellow humans to each other within families. A person may know their perpetrator’s personal story but it does not lessen or excuse acting out in abuse. Understanding the “story” of the person causing you the same harm they underwent in no way improves the relationship. My own father had his story of abuses suffered in a Catholic school. My own father continued his life as a perpetual victim releasing his rage, powerlessness, self-pity and feeling of worthlessness on those he “loved”. He became the “abuser” he hated.
The cycle ends when a person no longer accepts “victimhood” (accepts resilience/strength) and understands that it’s their actions that create their relationships.
As indigenous mourn, I empathize. I cannot imagine though, the direct suffering of the families that experienced such destruction of their family unit and cultural heritage. The death of these children vividly reminded us of the death of a people’s culture and way of being. The nation legalized it. The RCMP enforced it. The churches designed it (“kill the Indian - save the man”) and made it a reality. Regardless of the “intent”, or the historical setting (moral acceptance) - it was a horrible human practise.
There are many emotional responses. All of the emotions are valid. The actions expressed… actions that effect others - this is where responsive, thoughtful care must be taken. AND there is good reason for this. One of my favorite thoughts is to “be careful who you choose as your enemy… for you become just like them”. History can be a tool for perpetual hatred. History can be a tool for better ways of being. History can motivate those that hurt others to make amends and be accountable. History can teach how to heal regardless of failed acknowledgment of harm caused.
Actions speak louder than words. Actions move thoughts and ideas into our physical reality and have a lasting effect. Choose your actions wisely.