Canada | Opinion

Terese Mailhot: Politician still pushing assimilation on our people

Students at the Blue Quills Residential School. Photo: Provincial Archives of Alberta

A lawmaker in Canada continues to face criticism for comments about the "good things" in the Native residential school system. Writer Terese Marie Mailhot (Seabird Island Band) wonders how Lynn Beyak if First Nations took her grandchildren away:
Senator Lynn Beyak, a member of the Canadian senate committee on Aboriginal people, was criticized for saying there were some ‘good things’ about residential schools, where an estimated 150,000 Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their communities—where some 6, 000 children died due to malnourishment or disease.

Her rhetoric is more common than most people know. She criticized the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for not focusing on “the good” of “well intentioned” institutions. The fallout sparked social media outrage, along with kind requests that she brush up on her history.

To this she stated, “There are two sides to every story,” and then she talked about her friend, an ‘Aboriginal fellow and his wife,’ who have familiarized her with the Native experience. The white icing on the cake was when she stated, “The best way to heal is to move forward together. Not to blame, not to point fingers, not to live in the past.”

Read More on the Story:
Terese Mailhot: Senator Lynn Beyak, Can We Have Your Grandchildren? (Indian Country Media Network 4/11)

More on the Controversy in Canada:
Sen. Lynn Beyak says ‘silent majority’ supports her on residential schools (CP 4/12)
Lynn Beyak calls removal from Senate committee ‘a threat to freedom of speech’ (The Toronto Star 4/6)
Conservative senators defend Lynn Beyak, as media called 'parasites' (CBC 4/6)
Lynn Beyak removed from Senate committee over residential school comments (CP 4/5)