Chief R. Stacey Laforme's poem honours 215 children
May 31, 2021
*Trigger warning: some information may bring unpleasant feelings and thoughts.
The reality of residential schools have become known over the years, but horrific news keep coming. Remains of 215 children were found buried near a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C..
They weren’t missing. Their deaths went unacknowledged for so long.
How do you heal from this?
We are filled with sadness and we stand, with heavy hearts, in solidarity with indigenous people. This will not be forgotten.
Chief Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation shared a poem he wrote after the recent discovery.
For resources, visit the Indian Residential School Survivors Society: www.irsss.ca
I sit here crying
I don't know why
I didn't know the children
I didn't know the parents
But I knew their spirit
I knew their love
I know their loss
I know their potential
And I am overwhelmed
By the pain of an entire people
Unable to protect them, to help them
To comfort them, to love them
I did not know them
But the pain is so real, so personal
I feel it in my core, my heart, my spirit
I sit here crying and I am not ashamed
I will cry for them, and the many others like them
I will cry for you, I will cry for me
I'll cry for the what could have been
Then I will calm myself, smudge myself, offer prayers
And know they are no longer in pain
No longer do they hurt, they are at peace
Intime I will tell their story, I will educate society
So their memory is not lost to this world
And when I am asked
what does reconciliation mean to me
I will say I want their lives back
I want them to live, to soar
I want to hear their laughter
See their smiles
Give me that
And I'll grant you reconciliation
R. Stacey Laforme