Weaving Reconciliation – the Fabric of Our Lives
This project began with the Survivors and what they say their needs are. Ɂakista xaxanak Garry Feschuk, former Chief of shishalh Nation and his wife Pauline visited each of the Survivors to talk with them about their experience and see how the project can help them. Now the project will begin the work to support them to reclaim what was taken from them to the extent possible. It will do this by:
- teaching and supporting families to weave regalia for the Survivors in their family as a way of honouring their identities, dignity and spirit as shishalh people
- creating opportunities for Survivors and their families to undertake private healing work at the former school site with Coast Salish healer – gifting regalia, and restoring shashishalhem names where lost or needed in younger generations
- holding a healing ceremony and feast at the Longhouse where all Survivors will be stood up in their regalia, their ancestral names are publicly shared and they are brushed down with cedar
- publicly raising the newly carved Totem Pole – honouring the Survivors of all 48+ Nations whose children attended the school, the master carver who made the pole, all project partners and participants, and publicly renewing a collective commitment to reconciliation – that ‘every child matters’ and that we will all do everything in our power to work for justice, truth, decolonization and healing so that the dark days of the residential school era will never be repeated on these lands.
This project is made possible by generous support from the First People’s Cultural Council, shishalh Nation, Walking Together – The Indigenous Reconciliation Fund and the Sunshine Coast Credit Union. We hold our hands up in gratitude to these supportive partners!