Reconciliation is hard work. It is a word that has multiple meanings for Canadians and Indigenous peoples.
Within four seasons in 2017, nikawiysis and I traveled to many communities between Edmonton and Bonnyville, Alberta, Treaty Six Territory, to share our truths of the Indian Residential School experiences and its intergenerational effects. We wanted people to hear the stories first hand in a safe space to ask questions, to participate in dialogues and art. Our intention was to connect people to the spirit of our truth, with an attempt to address the many misconceptions and to deconstruct the many forms of racism towards the Indigenous peoples of Canada.
To help process the hard truth of our stories participants engaged in art activities; from beading in the winter months, to medicine picking in the summer, and creating sweetgrass turtles and baskets. They not only learned about our ceremonies, songs and language, but were invited to participate so they many understand our inherent connection to the land and it’s importance to restoring balance in our lives.
We are so grateful for all those who listened with open hearts and minds, and helped respond to reconciliation with action. âyihiy mistahi niwahkomakanak