Dear editor

Re: Interview with Larry Miller on Truth and Reconciliation

I feel compelled to write a response to the recent interview with Larry Miller on the matter of the Truth and Reconciliation Report by Supreme Court Judge Justice Murray Sinclair. The reason I feel compelled is that I am the granddaughter of the respected Ojibway Elder Wilmer Nadjiwon whom Miller referenced.

I have to say that, yes, my grandfather is all of what was mentioned; a respected elder, a World War II veteran, fisherman, iron worker and Chief of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded Band. Yes he was very successful at all of those things including being a founding member and Chief of the Union of Ontario Indians for several years. Most recently he authored a book of his experiences entitled "Not Wolf, Nor Dog" and has been speaking of his experiences at residential school and the impact it has had on his life.

There are many stories of success among our peoples, however, the stories do not end there. From the trauma in residential school survivors' lives, the impacts have been carried down to their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Their children and grandchildren suffer from the tragedy of the residential school system. The sexual, spiritual, physical and emotional abuse they suffered catapulted them into lives of running from the pain and resisting the oppression and assimilation impressed upon us. Behaviours that result from people whose voices and safety did not matter as children, continue to be handed down through the generations. This is called inter-generational trauma, the effects of assimilation and colonization; a cultural genocide.

The cultural genocide has been in existence for over 250 years. The pride and honour that I feel from having the blood of my ancestors has sustained me and I believe has also sustained my grandfather. We come from a powerful people with gifts of leadership and Chieftainship. Being a steward of the land and the water is the relationship that has sustained him. Today at 95 years old June 15th, 2015 he continues to forge ahead carving and painting and teaching whoever will listen to the ways of our people.

I am happy to hear that the 94 recommendations from Chief Justice Murray Sinclair are "no brainers." Now let's put the funding and forward movement behind those words he speaks. Our ancestors have paid dearly for these changes. Let's be the change we want to see.

Trish Meekins
Owen Sound, ON