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Whose Truth? Whose Reconciliation?

Conversation with Billy Lewis

by Miles Howe

Billy Lewis. Photo: Miles Howe
Billy Lewis. Photo: Miles Howe

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has come and gone through town, and the pain and suffering of generations has been laid bare. Light has been brightly shone on wounds to the spirit that have never healed. Harrowing stories that should never have happened to anyone are now officially documented and filed for the ages to know. For many, this constitutes a certain truth.

Reconciliation, on the other hand, is a loaded term. It may be understood to mean “making consistent or compatible”. If this is to be the understood definition, then who is to be made consistent or compatible to whom?

It may be understood as “causing a person to accept or be resigned to something not desired”. If this is to be our working definition, then who is to resign to what fate?

Reconciliation is also a religious term, by which something or someone is brought back into the fold. If we are to turn to the theological, then who is to be brought back to what, exactly?

I ask these questions, because as the son of colonialists and adventurers, I wonder how in the world we shall ever reconcile what has been done here, if we cannot even stop and admit that it continues to this day.

Please enjoy the following conversation with Billy Lewis, who participated in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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Topics: Indigenous
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