Jaydin, Greg and Carlin Charleson hold up Cadence Manson at a Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre truth and reconciliation event at Beban Park social centre on Nov. 7. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo youths share perspectives around truth and reconciliation

Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre hosted Youth Leading Reconciliation event at Beban Park this week

A residential school survivor said an ‘F’ word – forgiveness – is key to the truth and reconciliation process.

Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre and Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island hosted the Youth Leading Reconciliation event at the Beban Park social centre Nov. 7. The event saw youths take part in social and cultural activities.

Greg Charleson, a Hesquiaht First Nation elder, was among attendees and said overcoming the effects of residential school is difficult and forgiveness was first and foremost. He had to forgive God, Jesus, priests and religious brothers and sisters. Not only has he survived residential school, he has survived alcoholism, addiction and violence as well.

“People will think of all the other ‘F’ words before they even think of ‘forgiveness,’” said Charleson. “So forgiveness is ongoing. Forgiveness is lifelong. Forgiveness for me comes each and every morning I wake up because if I walk with no forgiveness, then I’m setting myself up to be hurt again … for me truth and reconciliation is being right here with the kids and drumming with them, teaching them how to dance, teaching them how to pray, teaching our language and telling them that each one of them matter.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo contingent learns about Maori in culture exchange

READ ALSO: Donated van will benefit Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre youths

Ruby Barclay, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre youth advisory council coordinator, said the event is created by youths for youths.

“We’ve had over 100 young people in this space, being able to share in circle and I think what we all heard this morning was, ‘This is the biggest circle I’ve been able to share in,’ and many of our young people’s first times sitting in circle … I think it’s pretty powerful and talking about reconciliation is coming together and if we we’re talking about reconciliation with the next generation, it’s about planting the seeds and providing that space for them to start doing that because they are our next leaders,” said Barclay.

Jaydin Charleson, Greg’s son, said that reconciliation is about healing and said the day’s events were educational.

“I’ve learned to be open,” he said. “Listen to people’s perspectives and not just look at mine.”

Carlin Charleson, Greg’s other son, expressed similar sentiments as his father.

“I think [truth and reconciliation is] about forgiving and about admitting the mistakes that happened in the past,” he said.

Cadence Manson, a youth mentor, said Youth Leading Reconciliation is “100 per cent” therapeutic for those attending.

“It helps every single person in different ways,” said Manson. “For me, I just like being able to talk to everybody, hang out with people I barely get to see and [hear] other people’s stories.”


Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP looking for man suspected of $25,000 credit fraud

Police allege suspect racked up debt under another person’s name

Man charged in Nanaimo mall crash-up fit for trial, says lawyer

Defence counsel for Joshua Tyler Schaeffer anticipates bail hearing Jan. 28

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP visits Wet’suwet’en camps, calls for Coastal GasLink pipeline to be ‘revisited’

Paul Manly met with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and the RCMP to talk about the ongoing situation

Lantzville taps into new water connection policy

Newly adopted policy gives staff increased authority over issuing new water connections

City of Nanaimo announces 10 new pieces of temporary outdoor public art

Sculptures will be installed at Maffeo Sutton Park and McGregor Park in May

Victoria police arrest 12 anti-pipeline protesters supporting Wet’suwet’en

‘We are unarmed, they have guns,’ protesters chanted on Wednesday morning

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

Successful end to search for kayakers along the Island river

Father and son located tired and cold, but otherwise OK

Vancouver Island man arrested after police seize suspected illicit drugs in Nanoose Bay

Car impounded after Port Alberni driver clocked travelling at more than twice the posted speed limit

Harry and Meghan should cover their own security costs: NDP heritage critic

The prince, Meghan Markle and their eight-month-old son Archie are reportedly staying at a mansion near Victoria

Theo the 800-pound pig trimmed down and still looking for love on Vancouver Island

“He’s doing really well, lost quite a few pounds and can run now.”

Horgan unveils B.C. cabinet shuffle changes

Premier John Horgan has made three major changes to his cabinet

Most Read