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									12   Canadian Mennonite August 23, 2010




 for anyone.”
    Royal said he was also held in ice cold      l Indian Residential School timeline
 and extremely hot showers for up to 30          1857: The Gradual Civilization Act of 1857 led to the formation of residential schools
 minutes as punishment for speaking his          for Métis, Inuit and First Nations children. The Canadian government and churches
 native tongue. “To this day I can’t go in       ran these schools in partnership with one another. The schools operated for about
 a sauna . . . or take a hot shower,” he told    130 years, and saw more than 150,000 children pass through them.
 workshop participants. “Every day when I
 take a shower I remember. . . . I can only      1970: The Conference of Mennonites in Canada offered a litany of confession at its
 take warm showers.”                             annual assembly that confessed the significant failing of its own faith community in
    Being so emotionally crippled from his       relating to “Indians,” seeing them as “converts,” but not as children of God; in recog-
 childhood experiences at the residential        nizing them by the “colour of their skin, but not as fellow human beings, friends, and
 school, Royal said he grew up full of hate.     brothers” in Christ.
 An alcoholic by age 16, he became involved
 in a string of crimes, including assaults       Early 1990s: Some of the key national churches involved in running residential
 in bar brawls, domestic violence and at-        schools made formal apologies to Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples.
 tempted murder.
    Royal, who now leads programs in an-         June 2008: Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a formal apology on behalf of the
 ger management for men and women, a             government and people of Canada. Since that time, common experience payments
 culture camp for kids, and a program for        have been made to approximately 80,000 living survivors ,and private hearings for
 domestic violence, spent 20 years of his life   determining appropriate compensation for those most grievously abused or violated
 behind bars.                                    have been offered. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was formed.
    Constantly drunk and violent, with his
 wife on the verge of leaving him, his life      July 2010: Mennonite Church Canada unanimously passed the following resolution:
 was in ruins—until a preacher came to his       “Be it resolved that MC Canada congregations and individual members recognize
 First Nations community on Sept. 20, 1981.      and confess our complicity in the failing of the Christian church and its role in the
 The bad feelings Royal had experienced for      tragic physical, emotional, mental and sexual abuse, denial of culture, language and
 so long, vanished. He could feel something      peoplehood of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. In recognition of this past failing, and
 other than hate and pain when he accepted       in acknowledgement that destructive individual attitudes, such as paternalism, ra-
 Jesus Christ into his heart and life.           cism and superiority, are still 
								
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