June 19th, 2024

Communities need to strengthen ties for reconciliation

By Lethbridge Herald on February 21, 2023.


As a survivor of the residential schools I spent nine years in St. Paul’s Anglican Church and four years in St. Mary’s Residential School on the Blood Indian Reserve. 

It’s important for survivors stories and experiences be acknowledged. In 1883 Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald addressed the House of Commons: “When the school is on the reserve the child lives with parents who are savages; he/she is surrounded by savages and though they can read and write his habits, training, and mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write. That Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from parental influence put them in training industrial schools where they will acquire the habits and mode of thought of white men.“

But shaming and pointing out wrongdoing is not the purpose of Truth and Reconciliation. 

I live in Lethbridge beside the Blood Indian Reserve, the largest reserve in Canada in size and population. 

I am a member of the Blood Tribe and reside in Lethbridge.

For the past 10 plus years, I have been working for homeless/addicted residents of Lethbridge. There is a high number of Indigenous members from the reserve living on the streets of Lethbridge. 

The numbers are rising and the overdoses and fatalities are increasing daily. These are challenging times the city is going through and the Blood Reserve has been adversely affected by the opioid crisis. 

Now more than ever the communities need to strengthen ties for a united front. To work as one in the quest for “Truth and Reconciliation” to continue. 

Reconciliation requires that a new vision, based on a commitment to mutual respect, be developed. 

It requires an understanding that the most harmful impacts of residential schools have been the loss of pride and self-respect of Aboriginal people, and the lack of respect that non-Aboriginal people have been raised to have for their Aboriginal neighbours. Reconciliation is not an Aboriginal problem; it is a Canadian one.

 Reconciliation will take some time. Alvin Mills


Share this story:

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
pursuit diver

We are tired of getting it shoved in our faces! There will be no Reconciliation when we have a gun to our heads!
The old definition:
RECONCI’LE, verb transitive [Latin reconcilio; re and concilio; con and calo, to call, Gr. The literal sense is to call back into union.]
1. To conciliate anew; to call back into union and friendship the affections which have been alienated; to restore to friendship or favor after estrangement; as, to reconcile men or parties that have been at variance.
The recently changed definition:
reconciliationnounrec·​on·​cil·​i·​a·​tion ˌre-kən-ˌsi-lē-ˈā-shən 

Synonyms of reconciliation


the action of reconciling the state of being reconciled


the Roman Catholic sacrament of penance


US government a legislative process that enables expedited passage of a bill relating to certain matters in the federal budget by a simple majority of votes
used reconciliation to repeal the bill passed during the prior session of Congress
Aides to senior House Republicans said Thursday that committee chairmen were meeting now to decide whether a budget plan … will include parliamentary language, known as reconciliation instructions, that would allow much of a Republican health care plan to pass the filibuster-prone Senate with a simple majority.
—Jonathan Weisman
reconciliatory ˌre-kən-ˈsil-yə-ˌtȯr-ē 

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dist-cross-dungarees/2023-02-15_16-26-14-0c95b8b4/images/svg/content-section-header-border.svgExample SentencesSigning the trade agreement was praised as an act of reconciliation between the two countries.
He contacted us in hopes of a reconciliation.
reconciliation of opposing views
I don’t see anything that states we have to go through years of attacks and name-calling such as colonists and perpetrators of genocide.
I was not part of this! My family was not part of this! We have paid dearly and to date over $48 billion dollars has been paid out or is assigned to be paid just in the last 4 years. At what cost and how many more years will this drag on!
I would suggest the indigenous also recognize the errors they made as early settlers were arriving and they were slaughtered.
True reconciliation is coming to an agreement mistakes were made, forgiving , forgetting and moving on united as friends.
This has turned into an attack and money grab, period!

Ben Matlock

You do realize that you have made Mr. Mills’ point?

This Red Neck Has No Neck

You’ve made an excellent point, and yet it garners 4 negative votes (as of Feb. 21 @ 10:30 PM). I imagine it’s all the racist snowflakes can muster, because heaven knows they can’t put together a coherent argument on much of anything, let alone in support of their racist bigotry and othering.

Last edited 1 year ago by This Red Neck Has No Neck

Alvin Mills usually addresses the “Bringing the Spirit Home” idea. If he dictated this to someone, I think they left that part out. Alvin I know you can do better than this and have realized we need to move on to stating and discussing actual,”new visions”.


And Alvin, I think the person who “helped” you with this added parts of their own. Next time they should write a letter to the editor and put their own name on it.


I agree, Alvin didn’t write this.


I don’t know how you know. But I know you are spot on. Maybe Kal ltea knows who wrote this?


What about the homeless/addicted Indigenous people who are a generation after residential schools?
Or are you suggesting that they also feel the burden of them, in which case every single person in the world can claim wrongs done to their ancestors as reasons to justify their own problematic choices and behaviours.
It is incumbent on each of us to take responsibility for ourselves, and not rely on blame of past wrongs to our people for our bad decisions and actions. If a group refuses to move beyond victimhood and blame, progress will never be achieved and the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates ad infinitum.
Pointing fingers is weakness. Take responsibility and control of self to see change and be the change so badly needed.


Hear, hear! Taking responsibility of one self is the Only way to freedom and change.

Citi Zen

Stop coming to the city for help. Take your people home to the Reserve, and look after them your own way. Obviously city life is failing them, as did the residential schools.

This Red Neck Has No Neck

Whether you like it or not, Indigenous people are CANADIAN CITIZENS, and as such have the right to live anywhere in Canada they choose, just as you and I do.

I’m not sure if you understand this, but this comment would not have been out of place in South Africa under Apartheid.

Citi Zen

Wrong. I am a Canadian citizen, but not able to legally own land and live on a reserve.

Ben Matlock

Red Neck has overstated the case somewhat. Under what we might call base-line conditions you are correct. However, there are enabling provisions in Federal law that allow First Nation Band Councils to pass a bylaw allowing non-Status persons to reside pertinently on a Reserve. There are also many other places that have residency rules, such as national parks or military bases.

That said, you have engaged in splitting hairs and have introduced a Red Herring. In doing so, you have failed to address Red Neck’s core point.


No, not all people can live or even visit a reserve.
Find out how many homes are boarded up on the reserve and why. Do those who have these homes boarded up care where the previous occupants go for shelter or help?