A Sikh reflection on residential schools and Idle No More

The Idle No More movement has sparked many thoughtful, creative reflections from all corners of Canadian society; it has also sparked racist and even violent reactions. These make continued engagement and reflections from all peoples on Turtle Island and beyond all the more important.

Santbir Singh, a Canadian Sikh leader and writer, offers us this reflection on residential schools and Idle No More, drawing on his own faith and history. He begins,

“I try to imagine the government coming to my house one morning and taking my five year old daughter and eight year old son away to a boarding school hundreds of kilometres away. I try to imagine that at this school, my children’s hair will be cut, their dastars and kakkars will be removed and they will be forcibly baptized as Christians. I try to imagine that they will be beaten for speaking Panjabi, reading Bani or trying to maintain their religious and cultural traditions.”

He goes on to draw parallels between Sikh and Indigenous histories, and ends with a call that links reconciliation and truth to Idle No More. Please read it, and then reflect on the intersection between your faith journey, your history, and Idle No More’s invitation for non-Indigenous people to join the movement to right relations.

If you know of other such reflections, please post links to them in the comments section!

Filed in: Indigenous Rights, Spirited Reflections


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