As we remember the Indigenous children who passed, as well as the victims and their families who are still suffering today. We Honour Them.
We thank Catherine Villeneuve, Hontsiaweń: Ta Wakenia: Ton, Mi’kmaq, Acadia First Nation for sharing knowledge and ways to honour Indigenous children who passed, as well as the victims and their families who are still suffering today.
“When my husband and I take part in ceremonies, often we bring candies to remember and honour those young ones who are in the spirit world. Children love candies, whether they are here in the physical or on the other side. The candies can be either offered to a sacred fire, to reach those spirits, or be consumed by the living. If the candies are consumed by the living, it is done in a mindful and prayerful way, with the intent of honouring these spirits. For OSA, I could suggest a dish of candies be placed at reception with a message explaining the reason for its presence, and that people be encouraged to eat them.
For victims and their families; I would say, if one is fortunate enough to be in the presence of these people and they wish to share their stories of how residential schools affected their lives, or the lives of their families, honour them by listening to them with a good heart and a good mind. Listen to their stories. I could also make a suggestion that people could make a personal commitment to learn more about the true history of all First Nation people across Turtle Island.
I still know so little, but I’m committed to learning all I can. I remember Grandfather William Commanda use to say, “This is what I know, and all of this is what I need to learn”.
So, to answer your question; honour them, everyday, but especially today.
Anyone can go online and read about Phyllis Webstad or listen to her tell her story and I encourage everyone to do so.
Phyllis is from “SHU EP-EM HU-LUC”, [sic], land of the “SHU-SHUA”, [sic], people, in Williams Lake B.C. She is a third generation Indian Residential School survivor. Both her grandmother and mother attended residential school. Phyllis lived with her grandmother and, at 6 years of age, it was mandatory for her to attended the St. Joseph Mission residential school. Her grandmother purchased a vibrant orange shirt, chosen by Phyllis, which she was excited to wear it on her first day of school, but on her first day, her treasured new shirt was stripped from her and no matter how much she cried and wanted it back, no one would listen and it was not given back to her. She never saw her shirt again.