What stuck out to me the most was the incredible courage survivors of the Indian Residential School had. They not only faced the very Institution that partnered with the Canadian Government in their assimilation, but they also did so with such truth, grace, and love. They were willing to re-live their traumas by sharing with the Pope. Why? Because being in the right relationship is the seedbed for healing.
“The burden I was carrying has lifted.”
– Rhonda Ungalaq, Inuit survivor and delegate.
“Yesterday was the most wonderful day I ever had in my life. It helped erase those 20 long years…”
– Metis Elder, Survivor Angie Creran.
The symbolism of gift-giving is unique to Indigenous culture. Grand Chief of the Cree, Mandy Gull-Masty, beautifully explained how her community made snowshoes to present to the Pope, “not to glorify him but to remind him that our Cree culture and language still lives.”
Over the past year, two significant dates have been etched into my mind. The first is May 27, 2021 – the discovery of unmarked graves in Kamloops, British Columbia, that woke the world to the atrocities of the Indian Residential School. The second is on April 1, 2022 – Pope Francis apologized to the First Peoples for their role in the destruction of Indigenous identity, culture and family.
Wow! God is moving on behalf of the First Peoples of this land!
Right now, I’ve never been prouder to be Metis. The importance of recovering my heritage, and learning about my people, was to give me a voice to speak hope into the current narrative.
Because of your faithful partnership and prayers, we are seeing a movement of healing among the First Peoples of this land.
We are still here. It is our time to soar!
Marsee (thank you in Michief).
Bev Hadland, Crossroads Ambassador for the First Peoples
Crystal Lavallee, Host/Producer for First Peoples Voices