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Canada apologizes for residential schools

B.C. First Nations welcome apology that is ‘a long time coming’

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“If we don’t quit victimizing ourselves, we don’t release ourselves from the prison we keep ourselves in,” he said.

While many at the gathering seemed to welcome the apology, there were no public statements of acceptance or forgiveness. But Campbell, speaking outside the gathering, told Pique Newsmagazine that acceptance of the apology will take time.

“This has taken 200 years to get to this point, and we can’t expect immediately we’re going to say, it’s done now,” he said. “I’m optimistic that these are all building blocks. The pendulum is now on an upswing and we’re starting to see a resurgence in pride and identity and culture and language, the young ones are hungry for that.”

Chief Leonard Andrew of the Lil’Wat Nation was in Mount Currie as the apology was broadcast. He told Pique he was surprised at the “thoroughness” of the apology and that it brought back memories of his own time in residential school.

“I think it’s sort of the beginning of something that we hope would have happened way back in the Trudeau days,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m fully satisfied, it’s a beginning of hopefully something that’s going to change throughout Canada in regards to involvement of First Nations with the federal government.”

He did not say he was ready to forgive the government for placing him in a residential school, but hopes, like Campbell, that it can mark a new beginning for First Nations people.

“Hopefully this starts that healing process that we've been waiting to happen for many, many years,” he said.

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