“I hope somebody someday will hear me. I hope nobody has to go through this. We have to have our own language. Because what we do, when we talk to our spirits… they don’t understand English.”
A cry rages through my soul and I am unable to speak. The injustice hits me like a freight train.
I scroll through the posts on Missing & Murdered Aboriginal Women in Canada*, and my soul aches. So many lights snuffed out before their time. So may truths unspoken in a society that doesn’t want to hear them.
I wish more than anything to hear their voices and their songs. It shakes me to my core that so many indigenous sisters in my own country are a part of this senseless violence. I am drawn to how much I admire their traditions, a culture that this very country’s government and religious factions wanted so badly to snuff out.
More than 150,000 native children were forced through residential schools and they say 4,000 of them died, though the number others say is much higher.
The number would climb higher still if they took into account what that cultural genocide had on future generations. The death toll from their horrific action continues to this day and age. They were beaten, tortured, raped, experimented on, humiliated and their sacred culture desecrated. Children. Innocent little children.
“The policy was to remove children from the influence of their families and culture, and assimilate them into the dominant Canadian culture.”**
My mother said when she was a little girl in the early 60’s, she heard her parents talking about the residential schools. She asked about them, inquiring about being torn from their family and what they did at these schools. They sat silent and said nothing, which has been the issue on this subject the whole time, silence.
I don’t remember learning about any of this in school because it was something they wanted to conceal as long as possible. It was hidden in a hole so deep they never wanted to bring their acts to light. We learned about a “multi-cultural” Canada that was bleached of any of the parts they didn’t want us to see. We learned about the horrors of foreign lands instead of the atrocities that happened on our own soil.
“Nationally, the death rate for these children was one-in-25 — higher than the one-in-26 death rate for enlistees in the Second World War.” *** (I’m not implying we shouldn’t learn about what happens on foreign soil; I think one should be aware of all that has come before in a conscious attempt to shed light on the path ahead and not relive history.)
There was no honor day for the fallen, no parades of tribute and no flags at half mast. No sacred ceremonies or reverence. Nothing but silence.
The church driven schools attempted to silence this culture and these people, much as they have done with anything and anyone that they deemed not in alignment with what they were wanting to bring into/control in this world.
Every war they start is in furthering their controlling agendas, and this was no different.
Their cultural and gender slaughter know no bounds. Hate, intolerance and racism were their teachings. The time for turning a blind eye is over. This isn’t the only culture/belief that has been tried to be wiped off the face of the planet, unfortunately it seems a familiar theme on this Earth, and one that needs to end.
It’s time we teach love and acceptance where the seeds of hate were once sown by these monsters. Silence is what we need to be erased; this has been what has worked in the favor of those that would seek to destroy.
In honor of those that have gone before, we need to start to hear. If there is anything in all of this that we need to let go of, it’s not the horrific tales and injustice; we need to let go of the outdated attitudes. We need to stand up together and fight this continuing cultural genocide in our own backyards with a shift in our perceptions.
This isn’t a lesson that has an expiry date. This isn’t something we should continue to pretend didn’t happen because all the ones that went before kept silent. To swallow this further is to align ourselves to the same monsters that did this in the first place, in our silence giving permission to the unthinkable.
I count myself as fortunate.
I grew up in a household where I was blessed with such amazing opportunities as being a witness to a sacred native drum circle when I was young (a ceremony that till his death my grandfather was touched and honored to have been in attendance for).
I was taught to make dream catchers, cook bannock and listened to lore. I marveled at the craftsmanship of the drums they built with my father (a carpenter that co-created these drums with them) and the melody of their voices as they sang by the lake where I lived. I wonder now at the bittersweet song that had to be rediscovered after having been stripped away for so long.
There was no mention of all that they had to reclaim and restore in their path to expressing freely their own culture as they shared it with us that day. That wasn’t part of the tales they told. This is a truth that has started to rise, and one that we all need to see.
I can’t watch the video below without tears streaming down my face, my heart torn into a million pieces. I try to imagine being born into a world and forced to silence the very language that my spirits spoke. Haunted eternally and bringing those ghosts forward to your children, and their children living out a legacy of heartbreak and soul-shattering agony.
We can no longer put band-aids on gaping wounds and hope that it will heal.
The web of history that was woven must be followed and the stories must be told. They are starting to unravel as more of what has occurred has been brought into the light. It is up to us now to stand together and break the silence.
It is time to embrace the cultural differences as a part of a vast vivid tapestry, not something to be stripped and washed clean of it’s origins so it can fit into the paradigms of some government or church organization.
We need to become the accepting, open-armed, multi-cultural country that we believe ourselves to be. Everyone on this Earth deserves to speak their voice in the language that they choose.
To be seen. To be heard. To be counted. To be accepted.
This is the path of all beings on this planet.
This is the medicine that will set each of us free.
All written content is the sole property and copyright of ©Ara, C. Ara Campbell and The Goddess Circle and not to be copied, reproduced or sold as one’s own in any part. (quotes, photos & video are property of the artist named)
*Missing & Murdered Aboriginal Women in Canada: https://www.facebook.com/mmiwg2s?fref=ts
**Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. May 2015.