Autumn 2017

Your Letters

A Shocking History

Although I knew some of the facts before [reading “Truth First,” Spring 2017], it was still shocking and heartbreaking to discover the true scale of the careless brutality with which the Residential School System was run. The Indigenous peoples of Canada were treated as subhuman. Particularly useful was the quote from Senator Murray Sinclair, “Why can’t you just get over it?” We’ve all heard that said.

Katharina Megli, ’79 BMus, Cambridge, U.K.

Beyond the Rail Versus Pipelines Debate

I am feeling quite spurred to respond to the U of A study that oil pipelines are better than rail for emissions [Spring 2017]. Do you want to know what is better for emissions than either of these? Not digging any more non-renewable oil/bitumen out of the ground at all. Instead of putting any more money or time or effort into this outdated, dirty, non-renewable, climate-destroying venture, business and government should and could focus on switching entirely to the use of renewable resources. All the people currently employed in the oil industry could be trained to work on building or maintaining or installing technology that would harness solar, wind or water to provide energy.

Anyone who says that discontinuing the oil industry will destroy our economy has either not really looked seriously at the options or has a financial stake in maintaining the status quo.

Shannon Enns, ’94 BSc(Spec), Vancouver

Understanding and Inclusivity

I want to thank Pat Makokis [’79 BEd] for her contributions to “Truth First.” I was moved by her generosity of spirit in providing opportunities for understanding and inclusivity — an approach taught to me by my grandmother and many of the elders I have learned from through the years. Her grace in navigating what has often been a difficult path serves to create a new formula for relationships that work — and for that I am grateful.

Rebecca Martell, Edmonton

Reconciliation Starts With Learning

As an immigrant to Canada, who joined the faculty at U of A in 1989, I was largely ignorant of the history of the relationship between settlers and native peoples. I also lacked much insight into what can be done in terms of reconciliation. At least now I appreciate the need to go beyond being naive, even if well-meaning, toward kindness and taking action. I will seek to learn more. –David J. Cooper, Edmonton

The Role of Universities in Reconciliation

The spring issue of New Trail was an inspiring effort, portraying a whole lot of what educational institutions should be about, but — in this day and age of corporate and political influence and control — rarely exhibit. By this I mean being exemplars of truth, honesty, openness, and a sense of justice, fairness and moral responsibility.

Bob Ewashen, ’62 BSc(Ag), Creston, B.C.

A Missing Perspective

Missing [from “Truth First”] was the voice of the church, which was certainly fully involved in creating the [problem] and which needs to be fully involved in reconciliation. The combined Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, United and Jesuit churches have responded to the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and it would have been balancing to hear their voice, too.

Tom Mumby, ’78 BSc(Spec), St. Albert, Alta.


We made a factual error in “Indigenous on Campus” (page 52, Spring 2017) in wrongly stating that all of the students who participated in the conversation were the first in their families to go to university. In fact, Tiffany Orenda Johnson has a number of family members who attended post-secondary institutions before her, including her grandmother, mother and both of her aunts. Her sister is currently attending university and is set to graduate soon. We apologize for the error.

@nleenders: Tough to hear, but excellent articles to learn about Truth and Reconciliation Commission work.

Nadine Leenders, ’79 BSc(Spec)

@AlinaSergachov: I missed my bus stop today because I was reading the new issue of #newtrail. I didn’t know about cultural genocide in Canada.

Alina Sergachov, ’15 MA

@Paulatics: I have to say, this latest edition of @UAlbertaAlumni New Trail, on putting the Truth in Truth & Reconciliation, is outstanding. #ualberta

Paula Simons, ’86 BA(Hons)