By Joel van der Veen
DAVIDSON — Ruth Cameron left her home at age five, forced into a culture that was not her own.
“We were taught in foreign ways, ways that our ancestors didn’t have,” recalled Cameron, describing her experience as a child attending the Indian Residential School at Lebret.
It wasn’t until well into her adult life that she was able to overcome the anger that endured from that experience.
That came in large part from embracing her own past and heritage, or as she called it, “coming to know who I am.”
Today she continues on that path, working to educate, and to promote and preserve her Indigenous culture, language and heritage.
“I had to fight my own demons, if you want to call them that,” she said. “But today I am very proud of who I am.”
She shared part of that journey during a presentation at the Sacred Heart parish hall in Davidson on Sept. 17.
Cameron was invited to speak to the parish as part of the Treaty Elder Series, an initiative from the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Among the recommendations of that report was a call to churches to develop education strategies, teaching their congregations about the history, impact and legacy of the residential school system.
The events are also geared to help parishioners learn about Indigenous spirituality and respect these traditions and practices.
Cameron’s presentation followed the noon mass and a potluck lunch, with about 30 people in attendance.