By Treena Duncan and Tony Snow
“Open my eyes that I may see,
glimpses of truth thou hast for me”
–Voices United #371)
Clara Scott wrote the hymn, Open my Eyes that I May See in 1895 when Residential Schools were an unfortunate norm in Canada. Today, I recognize a truth in her words she may not have seen. Today, our eyes are wide open, and the brutal reality of the Residential School systems is no longer hidden and unseen.
To date, we know of 1323 unmarked Graves: Kamloops. Brandon. Cowesses First Nation. 1323 lives that were not acknowledged with their names. We know this number will rise.
I invite you to listen below to the message of Tony Snow, Indigenous Minister for Chinook Winds Region who calls us to “finally begin bearing honest witness to these truths, of the lives lost and the sorrow carried by families and nations for decades.”
I also encourage you to prayerfully read the words of the 1986 and 1998 United Church of Canada’s Apologies to Indigenous People. It’s 35 years since the first apology was issued and these 1323 unmarked graves strongly tell us why these apologies cannot yet be accepted. But we can prayerfully continue to say these words of apology, again and again.
May we continue to live into truth and reconciliation. Treena Duncan, Executive Minister