Response to Charles Jeanes letter on restorative justice

From reader Paul Van Caeseele

Re: LETTER: Crosses and restorative justice, July 8

If Mr. Jeanes prefers self-immolation for his guilt in the residential school debate let him suffer it without me. I will side with Natives who beg to have the conflation of past atrocities and present beliefs abandoned. Who better to forgive than the offended.

The old saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” may have been coined to explain residential schools along with other not so brilliant past (and present) political decisions. Our national government thought the best way to integrate the conquered native population would be to round up children, rid them of their culture and replace it with ours. Catholic and Protestant churches, for reasons I fail to understand, agreed to pitch in. I won’t ever use the term genocide because I do not know what was in their hearts, but epic stupidity and arrogance is certain.

People need to remember or learn the history of humanity. We humans have always conquered other civilizations. Each and every one of us is a descendant of that fact including the natives of the Americas. Now how do we Canadians reconcile with the past?

Charles Jeanes ends his letter asking how, and I, for one, can only see one answer. Integration. Not imposed, but something we humbly plead for. The alternative future may be even sadder than the past.

Paul Van Caeseele


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