Residential school survivors share stories with church leaders
Church leaders from several denominations gathered in Saskatoon to listen and apologize to residential school survivors.
"The churches need to acknowledge, listen and play our part in reconciliation as much as possible," said Rev. Amy Bunce with the Anglican Church of Canada.
An intimate corner at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) Saskatchewan national event is designated for these sharing circles.
Each denomination that played a role in the residential school government policy has written a sincere and personal apology for the atrocities committed while First Nations children were under their care.
"I am sorry, more than I can say, that we tried to remake you in our image, taking from you your language and the signs of your identity," reads an excerpt from the Anglican Church of Canada apology.
Meeting with survivors and hearing their stories has been challenging and very painful, said Bunce.
For United Minister David Kim-Cragg, it's been hard to accept that the church did such horrible things.
"To be here is a way of taking responsibility for what happened and for trying to move forward," Kim-Cragg said.
The stories survivors have shared with him have left an impression.
One woman told him how her parents were forced to hand over their kids to the Round Lake United Church Residential School.
"They were threatened with jail if they didn't send her to this school," Kim-Cragg said.
He said he can tell from the black and white photographs of that school that the buildings and environments children were forced into were disgusting.
"We have to open our hearts to be able to listen to the difficult things that were experienced by people," said Bunce, adding how she is thankful that her children will learn about residential schools in the school curriculum.