Canadian churches challenged by Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Justice Murray Sinclair, TRC commission chair
Justice Murray Sinclair, TRC commission chair

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) has released a summary of its final report into the history and legacy of Indian residential schools. The first paragraph in the Introduction describes Canada’s entire Aboriginal policy and its implementation as “cultural genocide.”

The TRC defines that term as “the destruction of those structures and practices that allow the group to continue as a group.” This includes seizing lands, the forcible relocation of populations, restrictions upon movement, banning languages and spiritual practices, disrupting families and the removal of children.
This is strong language but Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and former Prime Minister Paul Martin have both used the same term in recent months. Continue reading Canadian churches challenged by Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Canadians on the Camino, Day 18: León’s cathedral of light

León's gothic cathedral contains wonderful stained glass
León’s gothic cathedral contains wonderful stained glass

(September 21)

We ended yesterday in the town of Mansilla de las Mulas but today we decided to take a cab into Leon, 18 kilometres down the road. That spares us the walk along a busy highway into the city and will allow us to spend a full day in León and to visit its famous cathedral. Continue reading Canadians on the Camino, Day 18: León’s cathedral of light

Canadians on the Camino, Day 17: Via Romana 

A Namibian couple stopping for lunch on the meseta
A Namibian couple stopping for lunch on the meseta

(September 20)

We sleep in a bit this morning and get a later start than usual. We now have less concern about walking in the early afternoon because the high temperatures are in the 20s and today there is a stiff breeze. In the evenings now we have to wear long sleeves and a fleece. We send our packs ahead again today and I am carrying just a small day pack with water and a few other essentials. Continue reading Canadians on the Camino, Day 17: Via Romana 

Canadians on the Camino, Day 16: oasis on the Meseta

Sparse landscape on the Spanish meseta
Sparse landscape on the Spanish meseta

(September 19)

We arrive in the village of Calzadilla de los Hermadillos this afternoon footsore and tired following a 27-kilometre walk through the meseta. The clouds gather and rain threatens just when we enter the village but fortunately the first building that we encounter is the Albergue Via Trajana where I had reserved a private room. There are reportedly 200 people in the village and there is another albergue but when I explore the place I encounter little else by way of public services. Continue reading Canadians on the Camino, Day 16: oasis on the Meseta

Canadians on the Camino, Day 15: Roman roads

Old Roman road on Spanish meseta
Old Roman road on Spanish meseta

(September 18)

We leave Carrion de Los Condes early this morning for another day in the open country of the meseta and we walk for 27 kilometres, encountering only two small villages along the way. We end the day at a modern hotel just outside of tiny village called Terradillos de Los Templarios.

Roman engineering

After an initial stretch of walking on or alongside a secondary paved road, we come upon a gravel road called Via Aquitana, which was built by the Romans 2,000 years ago. What remains of it runs straight as an arrow for seven kilometres.  According to our guidebook, all of the rock to support the road would  have been hauled in because this is an area of bogs. Two days back, near the town of Castrojerez, we walked on a trail parallel to a remaining portion of a Roman aqueduct, which is another amazing feat of engineering. The Romans left a big engineering footprint in France, Portugal, Spain and even the current day British Isles. Continue reading Canadians on the Camino, Day 15: Roman roads

Canadians on the Camino, Day 14: Good Samaritans at Boadilla

Good Samaritans from Korea
Good Samaritans from Korea

(September 17)

We leave the tiny village of Boadilla del Camino well before sunrise this morning, planning to get most of the day’s hike completed prior to about noon, when it gets hot. Martha has a small headlamp to show the way in the dark but the Camino signage, usually very good, is not so good this morning. We crunch our way along a gravel path and occasionally check behind us to see if there are others on the same path. Continue reading Canadians on the Camino, Day 14: Good Samaritans at Boadilla

Canadians on the Camino, Day 13: Two women named Pilar

A Spanish woman named Pilar recommended this hostel in the tiny village of Ages
A Spanish woman named Pilar recommended this hostel in the tiny village of Ages

(September 16)

I have on this trip encountered two lovely women named Pilar. The name is a common and traditional one in Spain. There is even a Day of Pilar to celebrate an occasion back in 40 AD when the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to the apostle St. James (Santiago) when he was near Zaragoza in what was the Roman province of Spain. Here is my brief story of two contemporary Pilars. Continue reading Canadians on the Camino, Day 13: Two women named Pilar

Canadians on the Camino, Day 12: Walking the meseta

Hay fields on the high meseta near Burgos
Hay fields on the high meseta near Burgos

(September 15)

We leave Burgos early this morning and before long we are on the meseta, the large central upland plateau that covers much of the Iberian Peninsula. The meseta is in some ways similar to the high rolling prairie in the Swift Current or Maple Creek area of southern Saskatchewan. Continue reading Canadians on the Camino, Day 12: Walking the meseta