Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Not waiting for an apology

I love this story from Reznet. Two Native non-profit groups from Colorado are going to cross the country on bicycles, beginning next May, to raise awareness of government abuse in Native boarding schools in the U.S.

The recent Canadian government apology to First Nations people that survived the boarding schools is a good thing, I believe. But what these organizations are doing makes me proud to be Native. They are not waiting for an apology from the U.S., and are taking charge of their own healing.

"We are going to heal and we are going to take our voice back, never to have our voice taken away again," said Don Coyhis, founder and president of White Bison, in a news release. "We are taking our voice back so our children will have a voice and be able to stand tall."


This is one of the stories that rarely makes as big a headline as what you normally see. And this goes on more than people think. Here in Alaska, Native organizations are taking charge of their own healing from horrible situations from the dominant culture, their own culture, and their own families.

I don't diminish the importance of an apology. Survivors of many kinds of abuse know the impact of an apology from their abuser. No, this absolutely does not, "Make everything better." But it's a beginning.

At the same time, most abused people do not get those apologies. But healing must take place, regardless. Whether there is ever an apology, the Native people of this country and state must grow stronger and healthier. I tip my hat to these organizations for taking those steps.

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