‘See us, hear us’: Residential school survivor on how to mark Sept. 30 holiday - National | Globalnews.ca: For the past six years, Geraldine Shingoose has been sharing her truths as a residential school survivor – or warrior as she prefers to be called – in Manitoba classrooms.
As Canada prepares to recognize the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Thursday, Shingoose, who is affectionately known as Gramma Shingoose, says the desire to hear from survivors has soared across the country.
“This year, 2021, is a year of truth for us survivors,” Shingoose said in an interview.
When the Tk’emlups te Secwe’pemc Nation announced the grim discovery of what are believed to be the 215 unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., Canadians had to face the horrific realities Indigenous children and youth had to live with while being forced to attend the schools.Stories of unmarked burial grounds were featured in a report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 2015, but the events of this summer sparked a national conversation unlike anything before.Some schools, businesses and different levels of government across the country are also choosing to observe the day, which is also known as Orange Shirt Day.
As non-Indigenous people in Canada navigate the best way to commemorate and honour survivors and their families, educators and those who were forced to attend the schools are offering advice on what can be done in the lead up to Sept. 30.
Shingoose believes it’s important to listen to survivors’ experiences. “I ask Canada to see us, to hear us and to believe us,” she said, echoing the sentiments of Murray Sinclair, who served as chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
This year Shingoose suggests Canadians take a moment of silence at 2:15 p.m. – referring to the number of graves found in Kamloops. She adds small gestures such as displaying an orange shirt in your window can have a powerful impact on survivors.
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.