“It was a long time coming” was a sentiment echoed by many yesterday as the government delivered what many felt was an overdue apology to Canadian native residential school victims.
As Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered the apology to the House of Commons, Calgary Aboriginals, including 67-year-old Morley residential school survivor Tina Fox, gathered in Bowness Park to honour the historic day.
“It means a lot to us so we can forgive and begin the healing process,” Fox told Metro. “It was difficult because we had to learn to become native again.”
Fox ventured through a healing process of her own by attending a counselling program but she feels like there is still a lot of pain that hasn’t been dealt with in the community as a whole.
“I have dealt with my hurts, pain and anger and I learned not to hate anymore,” she said. “I think now it is up to us to find our own healing and learn to let go of the sorrow and hatred we felt.”
Harper offered an official apology to the former students of the residential schools, schools that forced aboriginals to learn English, adapt to Christian beliefs and where many were sexually and physically abused.
Tina’s daughter, Neisha Fox of the Stony Nakoda Nation, said the importance of the apology would depend on the sincerity. “Money and an apology are great but it can’t take away the damage that was done,” she added.