The sad part is that it's true, when I tell you about babies being removed at birth, watching Elders pass away with broken hearts.

Families are suffering: youth are missing, and Mothers and Fathers are dying of grief.This I witness as an advocate every day working alongside families, outreach workers, other advocates, agencies, social workers, health care providers, lawyers, politicians and very concerned citizens. It's a long nightmare that has never ended and no one is getting out of it untouched, it's a double edged sword of the continual colonial residential school holocaust.

So how do we have reconciliation when the truth isn't held in the light for us to see by?

Is it reconciliation first and then truth? Or can we actually handle the truth, honor it, grieve it, release the pain and shame and blame and turn towards a healing path together?

Elder Joe says, "There is a whole new page waiting for us to write on. Let's turn the page."

What is the story of truth and reconciliation?

For me it would be:

All nations of the four directions rise and lift one another into returning to the ways of sacred law. Where all families are sacred, all people are important and our children realize how precious and valued they really are. Imagine honoring ourselves and each other again, living with the seven teachings beginning with respect for ourselves and each other. I wish a time where our First Nations relations can breathe for a moment and possibly experience there really is hope and that we, the mixed nations are more than apologies on camera. Where our actions showcase our words and our hearts and minds align as one.
Na'tsa'maht Shqwaluwun the Cowichan People say.

We are losing so much. All of us. We are losing our connection to the and, to one another to the inner golden hum of our humanity. It feels like one of the most desperate times. For our community to have one of the highest rates of child removal in the province of B.C. for years on end is difficult to digest. This means that those babies, tiny vulnerable babies, little children with innocent eyes, tiny feet and imaginations filled with wonder- are gone. A child being placed into the care is being instituted into packaged harm and it hurts-everyone.

Yet- I have witnessed incredible generosity. Citizens standing up with courage and faith to do their best and offer what they can- to want to change this and be apart of it. We care, share and become aware knowing this cannot go on. I have seen local citizens take a Mother and her baby into their home for 30 days.

The Mothers thrived, babies stayed close and possibility was birthed. I have seen citizens gather together, join in meetings, ask questions, send emails, make phone calls and offer their own resources. I have also seen gratitude, grace and shared space where we all arrive in the moment- together- accepting one another just as we are working together side by side- allied.

I have experienced the gift of forgiveness for myself, from others, for others and sense it sparkling on the edge of the Truth and Reconciliation conversations.I have listened to Native and Non Native Grandmothers and Grandfathers talking with each other, always sharing the common purpose: our children and our children's children- all children- matter.

The season is changing the leaves are falling and with them the stories of the four directions of this time, "returning to dust as we must" in the organic process of decay weaving into the roots gestating and deepening into the richness of the soil inviting us to listen to our own inner depth for we are all connected to the life cycle of the Earth.

We are more than 'conquer and divide' mentality. We are more than an economy built on suffering. We are more than where we are in this old story with no glory.

We are the Ancestors of the future.

What affects one family affects all families. As we bow to the unknown of the dark sacred night entering into the winter wisdom-we can join together truly honoring the celestial celebration that presents its way into the final days of the year and to include remembering those who are living everyday wondering about their children and those children who are missing them. We can offer our generosity, whatever that may be, keeping an open heart and mind to inspire great change that we all benefit from.
It is time to gift the grace of our humanity and its eternal light of love.

And this I do believe

Patricia Dawn. Valley Voice. November 2018 Issue.