Three residential school survivors took the first part of the Legal Process morning, telling their stories, their dark stories from the days of their days in residential schools. Little five year olds taken to residential school – no longer allowed to speak their own language, and in his case, raped, and fingers on both hands broken when corporal punishment was administered.
Plenty of tears were spilled by the audience, enough that there tissue boxes placed on the ends of the student tables which are really long risers in a large classroom. Barney Williams Jr., Butch Dick and Carla from the support centre spoke.
A panel of people who worked with the Truth and Reconciliation hearings followed them. I can’t believe those hearings went across Canada and I didn’t ever go to any of the public events. Some times I live a life in a bubble, I think. Sheila Roger, the Sheila Rogers from CBC radio, is the Chancellor at the University of Victoria, as well as an honorary witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She was the last speaker; she spoke elegantly. She looked over the audience. She looked at the previous speakers and then quietly ripped her talk in half and said that she was going to speak from the heart today and put aside the words she had planned to speak.
Speaking from the heart seems to be going on in many places.
The Graduate Class came here for a make-up lecture. They came in the evening, instead of in the morning, so Rebecca said there would be pizza and a class. But finding she had some people who couldn’t eat pizza, she changed the menu and we had mostly vegetarian fare, since I was available to her in the kitchen. I was touched when the note take for the class said in his single spaced 2-page summary the following day:
“Class was held at Rebecca’s house. To be honest, I remember the food most clearly. The food was delicious. Living rooms and food are better at nurturing conversation than board rooms and non-food.”