Truth and reconciliation


Editor: Re: Canmore council sets path toward reconciliation.

So read the headline in the Oct. 12 Outlook.

As an Aboriginal survivor of 13 years of residential school, unlike the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Murray Sinclair, I would confidently say I know something about “the truth,” but I question a lot of the “calls to action” by the final report of the TRC.

In my opinion, TRC chose not to tell the whole truth so without that, reconciliation is and always will be a challenge.

As a contractor working as an Indigenous Cultural Advisor to Correctional Service Canada at the Bowden Penitentiary, I see my share of Indigenous inmates who chose to and made bad choices and are dealing with the consequences.

As a former instructor of Aboriginal Studies at SAIT in Calgary, I have educated and informed students on Canada’s relationship with its Indigenous people and current affairs and subsequent challenges facing that relationship. In these roles, I did and do tell “the truth” on the residential school experience.

As readers may recall, a few months ago the town had a call for interest in its latest public art program on Cougar Creek. I did submit a concept, but was rejected within 24 hours of my submission; fair enough. As a backgrounder to that project, incumbent Mayor Borrowman and his art committee admitted Canmore is on Treaty 7 territories and respects its traditions and values.

Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to honour the First Nations of Treaty 7 as Canmore continues to take up and develop more treaty land in the valley. Of course, my concept would have included consultation with First Nations. Reconciliation?

Now, “Canmore’s elected officials accepted a policy that will guide the municipality toward reconciliation, including changing local signage to include translations in Treaty 7 languages.”

It’s mayor and council’s prerogative to set the path of reconciliation, but as far as I’m concerned, truth should precede reconciliation.

Angus Cockney,



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