We all need more understanding

The teaching staff, administrators and board of trustees for the Southeast Cornerstone School Division heard a heavy message from their keynote speaker at the teachers association convention, and it was a message that all residents of Canada should be hearing.

The speaker was Kevin Lamoureux, a First Nations speaker from the University of Winnipeg, and he talked about Truth and Reconciliation, more specifically about how reconciliation can be done through the classrooms in the school division.

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He passed on a lot of information and explanations about the reasons Canada underwent this process, which resulted in 94 calls to action in order to bring about reconciliation between Canada’s First Nations peoples and her non-aboriginal population.

Attention was brought to one of the calls to action, to ask the ministers of education across Canada to make a commitment to aboriginal education, including building in students a capacity for inter-cultural understanding and empathy.

As Lamoureux told the teachers, all people would benefit from this, not just the First Nations people, and this can be practiced in every school, in every classroom, regardless of the subject.

The report on Truth and Reconciliation does pertain directly to Canada’s Indigenous people, but the principles and concepts involved can be applied to all people in every community.

This particular call to action asks that students be taught about understanding between cultures, and to have empathy for those from different backgrounds.

Think of new immigrants to Canada, as their children began school this week for the first time in a new land, perhaps with a new language and culture. Think also of those from a First Nations background — their upbringing may be different from others, but their needs are the same as everyone’s, and all people need to be tolerant and realize that patience and understanding is needed.

The concept of reconciliation, whether it’s in a marriage or community relationship, has to do with bringing together two sides so they can come to a mutually-agreeable understanding of how they can get along, each forgiving the other and moving ahead in a new relationship.

This may be a tough goal to reach in some cases, but it will be worth the effort if in every classroom or workplace, people work towards understanding each other.