'It's a lifelong
process and I think the healing will continue,' says Clayton Lorne
Lorne Green is receiving the President's Medal, Silver Academic
Achievement Award and Faculty of Social Work Dean's Award.
(photo by Merelda Fiddler)
When Clayton Lorne Green convocates from the First Nations University
of Canada on Friday, he'll be bringing home an armful of awards
but the accomplishments didn't come easily.
A residential school survivor and recipient of the coveted President's
Medal for demonstrating strong leadership and academic excellence,
the 54-year-old plans to dedicate his life to healing and reconciliation
through social work.
|'The sound of silence was so deafening.'
- Clayton Lorne Green
Green, a member of the Samson (Nipisihkopahk) Cree Nation in
Maskwacis, Alta., spent seven years at the Ermineskin Indian Residential
"My story is similar to many former students' experiences,"
Green told CBC Radio's The Morning Edition host Sheila Coles.
"The sound of silence was so deafening," he said.
"There was no one there to provide any comfort. You just had
to grin and bear it."
Healing himself and community
Because of his experiences at residential school, Green has
dedicated the last 30 years to healing himself and his community.
- He has been a Resolution Health Support Worker for the past
eight years, offering emotional support to residential school
survivors and their families.
- He sits on the board of directors with the Remembering the
Children Society, an organization dedicated to honouring children
who died in residential schools.
- He is chairman of the Building Bridges working group, and
has sat on planning committees and listening circles for the Truth
and Reconciliation Commission.
- He also organized a commemoration walk and ceremony for a
men's support group for residential school survivors.
Green said there's still a lot of work to do for Indigenous
and non-Indigenous people to reach reconciliation.
|'If you don't forgive,
you can't move forward.'
- Clayton Lorne Green
"For non-Indigenous people, they have to get to know us.
Right now, I'm aware that they have little to next-to-nothing knowledge
about us, and they need to make the effort to get to know us because
we have a lot to offer," said Green.
"But I also believe that us as Indigenous people have to
reconcile with ourselves and amongst each other."
Green said forgiveness is a major part of reconciliation.
"If you don't forgive, you can't move forward; you stay
stuck in anger and resentments."
On top of the President's Medal, Green is graduating with a
bachelor's degree in Indigenous social work with a Silver Academic
Achievement Award. Green also won the Faculty of Social Work Dean's
Green hopes his accomplishments inspire other Indigenous people
to pursue their educational goals.