By Dawn Brennan
First – this is your burden to carry. Indigenous people are carrying their own very heavy burdens.
Please do not ask them for help with your own emotional labour.
You can place teddy bears on your porch or in your window (bears for 215). You can make donations – research options.
You can dig deeper than displaying bears and donating.
You can read the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and find some that you can follow up on. Easily googleable.
You can read the names of the children who were known to have died at Residential School. The common consensus at this time seems to be that the 215 are not on this list of over 4,000 children. https://memorial.nctr.ca/?page_id=372
You can be prepared. The Kamloops school is one residential school. There were 139 Residential Schools. Grave sites have previously been identified at a few other schools. It is anticipated that research will identify many more grave sites.
You can watch Residential School Survivors testify for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Warning. This is horrifying and heartbreaking. https://legacyofhope.ca/wherearethechildren/stories/
Here is a list of films related to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. https://www.kairoscanada.org/missing-murdered…/films
You can educate yourself about the land you are on and the people whose land it is. https://native-land.ca/
You can pursue further education; there are lots of options but here is a free one:
You can volunteer – check out options in your community.
Do you know any Indigenous people? It is astonishing to me how many Canadians simply don’t know any Indigenous people. How can you meet some without burdening them? What Indigenous events / organizations exist in your community?
Indigenous peoples in Canada have survived despite the best efforts of our Governments and Churches. They have deep spiritual and cultural lives. There is much we can learn from them. But we also have much to learn about them and the genocide which has been perpetrated against them. Use your horror, shame and guilt as an impetus for change. Yes, please display a teddy bear. I am. But don’t stop there.
By Dawn Brennan (Facebook)