While this was the beginning of Indigenous History month as well as Pride month, this year, we mark the occasion filled with sadness and outrage at the news from Kamloops and the Tk’emlups te Swcwepemc First Nation in BC.
I stand with the First Nations people in mourning the 215 victims of the Kamloops Residential School. I am heartbroken and outraged at the violence inflicted and suffering endured by these children and many more who were forcefully taken from their homes. I realise how little has actually taken place in terms of real reconciliation.
As flags are lowered across the country and vigils are observed, we need to recognize that these symbolic acts are important but not nearly enough. It seems clearer now that before reconciliation can happen, what is needed are apologies, accountability and consequences.
As a settler I recognise I can do much on an individual level. I’m looking into the On Canada Project which has resources to educate as well as suggestions for action.
I also really like the ideas on this graphic made by Desiree Dorion:
Here is a poem by Abigail Echo-Hawk (@echohawkd3 on Twitter):
When they buried the children
What they didn’t know
They were lovingly embraced
By the land
Held and cradled in a mother’s heart
The trees wept for them, with the wind
They sang mourning songs their mothers didn’t know to sing
Bending branches to touch the earth around them
The creator cried for them
Tears falling like rain
Mother Earth held them
Until they could be found
Now our voices sing the mourning songs
With the trees.
Light sacred fire
Ensure they are never forgotten again as we sing