Chief R. Stacey Laforme’s poem honours 215 children

Chief R. Stacey Laforme's poem honours 215 children

May 31, 2021

poem by Chief Stacey Laforme

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*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

Reconciliation

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