For the child taken,
For the parent left behind.
Definition of RECONCILIATION
1: the action of reconciling : the state of being reconciled
2: the Roman Catholic sacrament of penance
reconciling: to restore friendship or harmony
On my birthday in 2008, PM Stephen Harper stood before all of Canada and issued a public apology. He apologized to the former students of residential schools and their families for the treatment of the children, and the aftermath that it wrought.
The effects of which are still being felt today.
Growing up, I remember so many kids from town asking “Why don’t your people just stop drinking?” Or “Alcohol was introduced to your culture over a hundred years ago, why aren’t they like us? It’s just a part of every day life now, not like … drunk all the time.”
I remember feeling so much rage and yet, not fully understanding the real issues and the truth. My parents hid a lot of what happened to them and their friends and families and their parents from us. I know they were trying to protect us, but keeping the truth from us, keeping a means of defense from us, was the same as lying.
And you know what? We may as well have been doing the same to the rest of the country. But it wasn’t just us, it is the lack of education for everyone. And therefore, a lack of understanding.
Then again, for a lot of people, it wasn’t just a matter of protecting their children from the truth and harm, it was self-protection as well. So many years of being afraid to tell the truth, of being thought of as victims, or liars, or weak.
If anyone thought that of these people, these survivors … remember … they were children taken from their mothers and fathers and grandparents, placed in these schools and separated from their brothers and sisters. They were kept apart from their families as much as possible. Even when the residential school was in the community, families were not allowed to see their own children except for three or four times a year, if they were lucky.
Imagine being in that family. Having your children taken from you. Having no loving arms to comfort you when you wake from a bad dream. And then being forced to speak a foreign language, and smacked when you speak your own. Being forced to pray in another’s religion and beaten for praying in your own. That was their reality. For years.
And then add physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Some got lucky and were spared. But not everyone.
The Truth & Reconciliation Commission has undertaken to record and, hopefully, aide in the healing process of as many survivors as possible. Survivors have come to the events in communities and told their stories, shared their pain.
Mind you, not everyone. I know of a few who still refuse to talk to anyone. They’d rather forget and pretend it never happened.
The crazy thing is, this continued well into the 70s. And then a First Nation-run residential school continued to run until the 90s. Unfortunately, when you have a residential school run by victims of abuse, the cycle is a bit perpetuating.
Back in June of this year, I attended the TRC event in Saskatoon. It was a great event. Seeing so many survivors together, working on getting their stories told, overcoming their fears. There were a lot of tears.
I picked up a few prints, one of the speech by PM Harper, and one of a map of all the church-run schools in Canada. My uncles and a few of their friends were pointing out the schools they went to. It was sad to see they didn’t even all get to go to the same schools. Or schools that were even remotely close to their communities.
They even had free books. I picked up two copies of one called “Speaking my Truth: Reflections on Reconciliation & Residential School.” One for me, and one as a blog giveaway. If you’d like this copy, leave a comment and your name will be entered into the draw. Deadline will be Sunday at midnight, Saskatchewan time.
So Roller Derby has come to my wee corner of Saskatchewan. I couldn’t be more filled with squee!
@NDNSpeechmom (aka my cousin Skye) can attest to the fact as a child, we used to watch roller derby on our FarmerVison tv. (FarmerVision is what we used to call our two broadcast channels that aired mainly farm-focused programming. Ah the joys of the pre-satellite era) I remembered biking the kilometer across the field to her house and watching roller derby with her, being mesmerized by the tough women skating around the track, beating the crap out of one another.
I clearly remember declaring that I wanted to do that one day.
I also remember my brother and her brother (both a year younger than us) laughing their asses off and saying “Sharon, you can’t even stub your toe without crying for half an hour!” And then I burst into tears because they were teasing me. lol
Well, that was then, and I can handle a lot more now. :P
Also, I love proving people wrong. It’s a both a good thing and terrible thing about me. lol I like being right, OKAY?! So … there. I’m going to do derby, dammit! XD
I’ve paid my dues to the Battlefords Roller Derby League, therefore I now I have to follow through. I mean, at least until I get my $60 worth. :P
When I filled out the sign up forms there were fields for my desired derby name and number. I went with what felt right: Creehawk and 42. I have been known as Creehawk for so long now, it just seemed like a natural fit, and it sounds cool. 42 is the answer to the ultimate question. Originally, I wanted 10101 (42 in binary) for the extra geek factor, but apparently there’s a 4 number limit and has to be easy to say so refs can tag you quickly for penalties. :/
So … yeah. BUT all is not lost. I shall just put the binary on my sweet helmet. ;)
Oh oh oh! And my FIRST night out (the try out night), I made the paper! How cool am I?! Well, to be honest, not very by any stretch of the imagination. lol But still! I was in the paper! I looked totally dorky, but I don’t even care!
I’m the dorky one on the right. :P I’m so proud of myself because I didn’t fall once. Well, not by accident anyway. I did a bunch of practice falls, y’know, down on one knee and stuff. It was fun.
So for my start-up derby checklist we have the following:
- Elbow Pads
- Wrist Guards
- Mouth Guard
And that’s it. I’m still short my knee pads and roller skates. Yeah, I know the skates are pretty important, but they are also the most expensive. I have my fingers crossed for this next paycheque. :D
Until then … I am left to do derby the nerd way: taking notes. lol
Man, it has been crazy busy lately. The biggest project on my plate at the moment is the Saskatchewan 2012 First Nation Winter Games. Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs (my employers) are hosting the games this year in Saskatoon. Normally, IT wouldn’t be a big part of a sports … thing. But BATC is doing a lot of innovative stuff this time around that involves our little geeksquad.
For example, we’re planning on live streaming a few of the games. We’re also doing online registration of the athletes. So … as I’m sure you can imagine, it’s taking up a lot of our time. Not to mention we still have to do all our regular jobs like making sure the school servers are up, the school computers work, the chiefs’ computers and laptops work, the office computers are running well, etc.
PLUS … our latest project is Deep Freeze on the school computers. Let me tell you guys, DF, in its latest incarnation, is a thing of beauty. I mean, really. Especially if you use the Enterprise version, which is what we have. I looove it like there’s no tomorrow.
Add the LogMeIn software to that, and Sharon is a happy geek. :D
And with that, I’ve noticed how late it’s getting and I really need to get up early tomorrow. It’s actually Reading Week. My kids have the week off so I’ve offered their fathers visiting time with them. I’m not happy with it, because I miss my kids, but I suppose kids should bond with their other parents. And perhaps my boy will see his other mom when he’s there on the rez too. Get the whole family experience.
In any case, it’s a lot of driving for me and driving makes me tired. :P So with that, I bid thee adieu.
This is the time of year most people traditionally make resolutions to better themselves in one way or another. I usually do my best to refrain from making them, but seeing as I did last year, I may as well again this year.
My resolution? Blog more. At least once a week. There you have it.
The reason I’m making this my resolution is that there have been a LOT of changes in my life in the past year, and I feel as though a lot of it wasn’t recorded well. I have a terrible memory, and this blog sort of helps me sort through dates and time. A lot of what I went through this year has been absent in my blog and I’m afraid I won’t remember it all.
For instance: I lost two uncles this year. My mother’s brother and my father’s first cousin. I miss them both, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t post about either loss here. I’ve already forgotten the dates and I hate that about myself. That I can’t seem to sort through events in even my recent past without mixing it up or remembering it incorrectly.
I also lost my own first cousin in February just shy of her 40th birthday. That was really difficult. We weren’t very close, but like all older cousins, she was that mysterious cool cousin that always had a smile on her face.
I don’t want to forget them.
I know intellectually, that I will never forget my family, but emotionally, I already feel like I’m losing something of them. Which sucks.
But it wasn’t just having my relatives pass away that has me thinking about blogging more, it’s that there was so much change in my life. It feels it’s been completely turned upside down. And I missed documenting that change.
I was laid off the job I’d been doing for the past 4 years, and in turn got a new job in the “city”. I had to relocate my entire family as a result; this meant moving from the home we’ve all known for the past 10 years: the reserve. I finally found myself dating, and then not (as I dumped the guy twice). I got a new car in April. My late cousin’s daughter had a son which in Cree reckoning, makes me a grandmother! Again (I have two other older cousin whose daughters had babies.)
So much change all in one year. And that year has seemed to pass by so quickly, I feel as though I missed most of it.
Which is why I resolve to blog more; so I’ll have a better record of everything. I don’t mean to hold on to any sadness, but hopefully to hold on to the good memories better.
So, in closing, this is me wishing all of you a wonderful and happy new year.