By Jennifer Bowen
My heart has been aching this year with every news item involving residential schools, so much so that I have been reluctant to write on this subject. I’m deeply aware that this is an area where I am a learner rather than a teacher.
I’ve been learning more fully how wrong my history lessons were as a child — how Christopher Columbus was not a hero and how they excluded the suffering of Indigenous people when colonizers came to this land.
I’ve learned about the beauty and depth of Indigenous traditions and practices, which honour peace, power and reconciliation. l have learned and witnessed profound resiliency and wisdom.
I have also learned about the need for humility as a white woman navigating these sacred conversations. As much as I’ve learned, I have much farther to go. So it is in his posture that I share this resource with you. I was recently introduced to an incredible Indigenous organization called Grandmothers Voice. Indigenous elders work alongside community members to “guide, direct, model, and protect culture.” We hope to partner with these grandmothers in our own learning journey at Shalem.
Below is a link to a video produced by the team at Grandmothers Voice, helping the community better understand the impact of colonization. I share it with you as one way you might observe this important day.
Peace to you,
Jennifer Bowen is the Executive Director at Shalem Mental Health Network
You can learn more about the Canadian Native Flag, designed by Kwakwaka’wakw artist, Curtis Wilson here.