The 215: not the beginning and won't be the end.

Updated: Jun 8, 2021



There is a dark cloud over Saskatoon, and I'm not just talking about the early Summer thunderstorms.



^^^ Along the river bank in Saskatoon SK this week, Indigenous children marked the stones with orange handprints as a memorial to the mass grave of children found from a residential school in Kamloops. I feel the grief and the pain all around me in the city that I live in.



 


I am surrounded by a city triggered by the emotion of remembering trauma. I see it in the faces of the people I talk to, I see it along the avenues I drive, with the posters and the faces and the names of missing children tagged to trees along the streets. I see it in the orange handprints placed along the rocks in the river.



But we're not the only place in Canada with a dark sky overhead.



This history is more than I have ever grappled with before, it's a huge collective trauma brought about as recently as 1996. Within our lifetime, within my lifetime. Today, it's all around me.



Perhaps it was happenstance then, that I had a zoom meeting with the FSIN (Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations) earlier this week. The meeting was about gathering research to pave the way for a series of healing centres for First Nations Veterans in Saskatchewan.



At some point, our 2-hour discussion led into the news from Kamloops on May 27th.



What they gave me in that meeting was insight, they answered the questions I found difficult to ask and they challenged me with new questions that I hadn't thought of asking myself before. More importantly, resources were shared: the most valuable stepping stone in the road to reconciliation and understanding.



I am learning to become an ally.




 


I was born in England - I am a new and white Canadian. Like many, I had preconceived notions of what it was to be Canadian. I am not proud of the history I'm learning about, I struggle with it, especially when I see the pain firsthand in my own community.



I live in the heart of the beautiful Meewasin (Cree, for beautiful) Valley in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. This is Treaty Six Territory and the traditional homeland of the Métis people.



I acknowledge that I share their land. I vow to continue to honour and remember. I will continue to do my part in reconciling with the Indigenous caretakers in my community because I respect and admire them.






"I don’t want to compare the suffering of our indigenous population to the suffering of many other people because frankly the suffering of our indigenous people is unimaginable and unique."
- Hassan Masri, Saskatoon


Each one of us needs to be a part of the resolution -



- because in 60 years from today, as Hassan Masri pointed out earlier this week, we don't want someone to write a post about us and how we allowed Indigenous women to be kidnapped and killed and did nothing.



We don't want someo