When they buried the children
what they didn’t know,
they were lovingly embraced
by the Land;
Held and cradled in a mother’s heart
The trees wept for them, with the wind
they sang mourning songs their mother’s didn’t know to sing
bending branches to touch the earth
around them. The Creator cried for them,
the tears falling like rain.
Mother Earth held them
until they could be found.
Now our voices sing the mourning songs.
With the Trees. The Wind. Light sacred fire.
Ensure they are never forgotten as we sing
Gitxsan artist, Michelle Stoney, has designed a feather to honour and remember the 215 children found on the grounds of the former Tk’emlups Indian Residential School.
Michelle describes the significance of the feather and why she designed it the way she did as follows:
First of all, the feather represents so much in our culture. Maybe too much to even explain, so I’ll just say what it means to me….To me, it means strength and healing. We really value the feather and it means so much to us. I know we use it for smudging, and to me that represents cleansing.
Inside the feather is the spirit of the 215 children. The face on the bottom is not an animal. That is how I draw people, and I wanted to make long flowing hair, that they (the children) were forced to cut.
And there is also a hand on top, kind of referencing the hand design I did last year.
But really, this can mean something [different] to someone else. I don’t want to force people what to think. I just like it when people connect in their own way….
N’we Jinan Artists – “WE WON’T FORGET YOU”
Sk’elep School of Excellence, B.C.
Song written, recorded and filmed with students from Sk’elep School of Excellence in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, Kamloops, British Columbia.