by Richard Long,
The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development – Chuck Strahl, has been deeply affected by the meetings he has been in recently with survivors of the Residential Schools. He spoke very well on this past Saturday at the Forgiveness Summit, and yesterday he spoke in Winnipeg at the opening of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission meetings.
Let’s continue to pray for him and his department that this would be a gracious window for them to respond with healing initiatives back to our First Peoples.
Here’s a story from today’s Vancouver Sun …
Strahl breaks down at hearings into residential schools
By Larry Kusch and Mary Agnes Welch, Canwest News Service June 17, 2010
WINNIPEG — Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl was overcome by emotion when it was his turn to speak Wednesday on the opening day of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission national event in Winnipeg.
Strahl, who has headed the portfolio for three years, had been sitting in a sharing circle of 20 people. Around him were the three commissioners, led by Justice Murray Sinclair, and more than a dozen residential school survivors, family members and other witnesses.
Each was asked to tell how residential schools affected their life.
After two hours, Strahl was one of the last to speak. He had heard stories of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, of missing family members, of the extreme pain that led people to alcoholism and drug addiction and the perpetuation of violence and abuse.
Clearly affected by the harrowing stories, Strahl said they were a call “to any of us that have any influence” to ensure that “the record is complete” and that “you can have some peace.”
He then paused more than 20 seconds before he regained sufficient composure to continue. As he did so, a couple of residential school survivors who were part of the sharing circle patted his shoulder, offering him comfort…