Listen with your heart

I recently was involved in an event regarding healing in a First Nations conference.  And the things I heard and witnessed were touching and heartfelt.  I wanted to cry at least a half dozen times throughout the four day event, listening to stories of people.  The concept of healing for First Nations people in Canada has been a growing movement over the last ten years or so.  The strength that is drawn by attendance creates healing in itself.  Canada has a history and when it comes to First Nations people, it’s not always been pleasant.  For what was suppose to be educational for students in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s turned into “the monster” in Canada’s closet.  Records of abuse suffered by thousands of students were demoralizing and shameful.  The struggle that First Nations people had to endure once left the schools were often hard and with little hope.  Many turned to alcohol and other substances to deal with the pain.  The pain of being abused sexually, physically, mentally, and spiritually as a little child, were all too much to bear.  It was never suppose to be this way.  Some had suffered at the hands of staff more than once over a period of years.  There were plenty of students who were forced to attend the schools over a time period of two to ten years.  Could you imagine being a six or seven year old child and being afraid that the person who was suppose to be your teacher or your priest might hurt you?  And having to live in fear of that for the length of time you spent at the school.  It was no way for a child to live.  Those who were in attendance at this conferences were the ones who made it, they survived.  But some, more than many, did not make it.  Some died right in the schools or later in life.  It is not a pretty story and I’m sorry that there is no way of nicely putting out what I have to say.  This is the history of First Nations people and others need to be educated on what happened to them.  The conferences that have been held in the last four plus years have given these people a way to deal with what they’ve felt for so many years.  And that is a good thing.  But now after all this time, First Nations people will need to be self reliant in creating their own conferences and healing events at home.  The government funding for the conferences and compensations will now cease in the middle of September of this year.  But this conferences was truly an event I will never forget.  As part of the healing, coordinators wanted to have healing songs sung and a jingle dress dance done for the survivors.  So it was my honor to be that dancer for the people.  The dress that I created over three years ago was one that I made specifically for “Residential School” survivors.  Little did I know, that one day, I’d be asked to dance for them specifically.  It’s amazing how life turns out.  The jingle dress is a healing dress to the First Nations people.  It’s purpose is for healing.  The event held over two hundred people from all over Canada.  It has always been an event and the event to be at when it comes to First Nations people.  Because something magical happens there and it’s always something that people can walk away with in their hearts.  There are no amount of videos or pictures that can express the feelings we take away with us when we leave.  But now it is time, for First Nations people to take their future in their hands and be their own coordinators of their community events and invite neighboring communities to join them.  Events like these are not easy to put forth as they take a lot of finance and planning to host.  But I believe that if they are meant to be, it will happen.  With all the resources we take away from the words we hear, there’s hope.  First Nations people will find their voice again and be the strong nation they were always meant to be in society.  The way of the Anishinabe is the way of the heart.  We have always had it, deep within.  But we’ve been asleep for so long from the pain and the hurt that society put upon us that we didn’t have the energy to look within.  Now it is that time.  Thank you for reading and if you didn’t know the history of Canada’s First Nation peoples, I believe you were meant to find and read this blog.  May you walk in beauty and share your kind words with all that come into your path.  Miigwetch……..Native StylezWarrior

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