June 1, 2021
215This is the number from one residential school in British Columbia. It is the number of children that they have found buried at one location. I went to school in Niagara-on-the-Lake. If researchers today found 215 bodies of children at my school, what would the response be ? Why did no one care that these children were missing ? They were taken from their parents by the RCMP or Children’s Services and forgotten. If the parents had complained, there would have been no response. Indigenous children were expendable.
Can we talk about fault here ? Is it my fault ? When I visited the Woodland Culture Center in Brantford, a site of a former residential school, some survivors talked about their friends gone missing. They were pretty sure the bodies were buried on site without markers. There is an Anglican cemetery just down the road, with names on the gravestones. No names at Woodland. Woodland is about half an hour from where I went to school. It was still open when I was in public school. I learned almost nothing about Indignous culture in school. I watched Six Nations come and play lacrosse. That was my Indigenious education.
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable of the goats and the sheep. ” When did I see you naked, hungry… ?” The person in the parable missed God in people. And so I, and the culture I grew up in, chose not to see it. Can we see First Nations children as the ones in the parable that represent God. When have we missed seeing God by turning the other way ?
215. What do I do now ? Will all those pairs of shoes that are all over Canada now, demand reconciliation and justice ? I hope so.Grace and peace, for our life growing into the being of God.
Painting by Ken Monkman
Soaring like Vultures
lifted up by unseen Hands
Trust, silent enters my fears Monica Pieper Landoni 2021