This fall session gave us all the opportunity to heal. It gave us the chance to reflect back on the Indigenous children whose lives were taken away from them for no reason. They were children like us who didn’t do anything wrong, so how come their lives were snatched away from them? Imagine how their families felt. The thought of having your own child taken away from you is something no parent should ever have to go through. When the last residential school closed in 1996, we believed that we escaped this tragedy and that we left everything behind. However, we didn’t. After finding the remains of the 215 Indigenous children, it reminded us all again about the unjustifiable treatment Canada gave towards the First Nations people. We cannot erase what we did. Instead, it will always be a part of our history which is why we need to stop running away from it but face our faults and actions.
Even though I only attended the last day of the fall session, I found it quite comforting to cut small orange shirts and dresses from the paper the other loop members created, and hang them on trees. It was interesting because the paper didn’t feel or look like the average paper you would find in a store, instead it was soft and in different shades of pink and orange. Later, we walked to a place full of trees where everyone hung their shirts and dresses on the branches. While we were doing this, elder Pablo sang a song about sending the children back home which also felt fulfilling. Seeing all the shirts hanging on the trees and blowing through the wind was like seeing the children dancing. It felt like we had finally sent the children back home where they were free.
In the end, I think it’s important that we do not forget about residential schools and the children who were not able to continue their lives. Even though these mistakes are unforgivable, it is still important that we don’t act like they never happened. We need to continue educating ourselves, and future generations about this tragedy. If we do this, I’m sure we can all heal together.