The historic release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report is an important step toward change, reconciliation, and mental health for all Canadians including First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in B.C. raises their hands at the courage of each of the 7,000 witnesses who testified during the Commission’s six-year mandate and the hard work of Justice Sinclair, Commissioner Wilson, and Commissioner Littlechild.
We agree with Justice Sinclair when he said, “this is not an Aboriginal problem, it’s a Canadian problem.” We all have a role to play in creating a healthier and just future. Understanding how colonization, and Indian Resident Schools specifically, are the “root” causes of the inequities many Indigenous people live with, is essential for identifying appropriate ways to take action.
At a community level it is important for all of us to think about how we need to respond to the ongoing legacy of residential schools playing out in our child welfare system and our prison system. How can we make a difference in our own communities? How can we support the work that needs to be done? How can we become an informed supporter and partner in this needed work?
CMHA, Mid Island Branch is committed to “doing better” and standing alongside B.C.’s Aboriginal peoples. We challenge ourselves and call upon allied organizations in our community to study the Commission’s report and to learn from and work with Aboriginal peoples in creating brighter futures and mentally healthy communities for all.
Maria Gomes, Chair, CMHA Mid Island BranchNanaimo