My 3 babies exist here on this Earth because Terry’s grandmother (Hilda) survived the Residential School system. She attended MacKay Residential School located at Opaskwayak Cree Nation in The Pas, Manitoba. She didn’t speak much of her time there, but she did attend the school for about 5-6 years. Later in life, she moved to Thunder Bay, met Terry’s Grandfather Louis, and had 9 children.
She was a compassionate woman who loved the outdoors, fishing, beading, and most importantly, her family. Terry spent a lot of time with Hilda in his younger years and cherished every moment.
I look at Terry and my children and feel immense gratitude that they are here. It's heartbreaking to think that so many Indigenous children never grew up and became adults or parents or elders. So many kids never got the opportunity to carry on their bloodline. It’s also unbearable to think that the ones who made it had to endure so much pain.
Terry and I both have Indigenous roots. Terry is Cree and I am Haida. When hearing of the children being found at the old Residential School sites, Terry felt pulled to learn more about his family lineage.
Terry felt relieved to learn that his Grandmother and her siblings were day students. Her father would travel 7 miles each way by horse and carriage to pick up his children as he knew of the abuse that took place at the school and did not want them to reside there. This still did not stop the mental and physical abuse they all suffered.
When we sit down and talk about the facts that we have been reading and learning it feels so heavy. Feelings of anguish that are so heavy that we just can not believe that this took place. It really is mind-blowing.
Growing up, Terry and I did not learn of these schools or the intent behind them. Now we know.
RAISING FUNDS FOR INDIGENOUS SCHOOL SURVIVORS
In honour of the Indigenous Peoples who survived the Residential School system and the thousands of children who never got a chance to grow up, we will be selling Desert Rose stones and giving 100% of the profits to the Legacy of Hope Foundation. The LHF supports the ongoing healing process of all Residential School Survivors and their families. The Desert Rose, in myth, was said to be carved by Indigenous warriors who returned from the spirit world. The roses were scattered over the earth so that the home of the spirits would be kept sacred. Desert Rose also harnesses feelings of love, calmness, and protection making it an ideal stone to keep in your home. Each rose is $5 and can be purchased online or in-store (Southcentre Mall, Calgary, Alberta).
June might have been National Indigenous History Month but we need to carry on the learning of the past and continue to do the necessary work to build a better future for the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people.
We all have the ability to make a difference. So let's do it.