Skip to content

Column: Disturbing truths coming to light

Tanya Ryan's monthly column #LightSideUp
Tanya Ryan 2

It’s late… and I’m sitting at my computer because I can’t sleep.

I can’t sleep because when I close my eyes - my imagination begins to play out various harrowing scenes. Because earlier today, I became uncomfortably aware of disturbing truths about our country.

When I close my eyes in attempt to go to sleep… the stories begin to unfold. I see grown, adult women and men harming indigenous children. Children that need love, care, support, and nurturing. I see babies being torn from their mother’s arms and hear the anguish in their cries. I feel a sickening thickness in my gut - because I can’t help but imagine what it would be like for someone to take my baby away from me. What it would be like to have no choice. To not know where he is, to protect him, or if I’ll even see him again.

The amount of emotions that this evokes from me is inexplicable. My heart is open and bleeding for the people that were injured by this maliciousness.

I’m angry for the innocent lives that have been impacted by this… I’m angry that this has created a lineage of trauma; that an entire culture is paying for the actions of my ancestors.

The amount of blind ignorance and unfounded superiority it would’ve taken for us to jump off our stupid boat onto land that wasn’t ours, and start rolling out our own agenda and government. Where did we get the nerve to impose our agenda in a foreign land? And without even considering the opinions and livelihood of the people that already thrived there??

I have taken so much thoughtful time to heal my own personal history with religion… only to place it back into contempt now. It’s hard for me not to blame this needless suffering on religious practices. It’s shaken my faith in government. I have never felt so compelled to keep a pulse on decisions being made because as a voting citizen, I am accountable for the actions of my government.

It leaves me - and I’m sure many others - wondering what to do now. How to make peace or redeem the survivors of this. It’s taking so much of my energy to hush my saviour complex. I have had to avoid speaking on this for fear of showing up as a rescuer… because my efforts of rescue are originated in my guilt. And nothing constructive comes from guilt. My saviour efforts come from my desire to sooth the difficult emotions that I’m feeling… if I can make everything else okay - then I can feel better.

But that’s not what’s needed right now. The feelings I feel around this are mine, and I need to own them. I need to digest them, feel them, experience them in the fullest state - and not rush to soothe them.

The indigenous people had to endure much greater hardship than my emotional discomfort. It is my place now to hear. To listen. To be witness to the acts they were subjected to. To ask questions, to be accountable. I don’t get to feel better about this. I need to take several seats. Be humble. And when or if I am called to action, it is then, without hesitation, I can step in with great reverence to be of service in any way I can be.