On June 3rd the members of the Cathedral were asked by Melissa Green to print and colour a feather to acknowledge and remember the discovery of the unmarked graves of 215 children at the Former Kamloops Residential School site
She said “It has been a difficult and painful week in our community and beyond. As we hear the news of the remains of the 215 children found at the former Kamloops Residential School site we may feel sad, angry, and confused. There are many amazing stories written and illustrated by Indigenous authors and artists, powerful words that help us to hear the experiences of those who went to Residential Schools and stories filled with words of hope. Here are three for you to consider listening to this week:
When We Were Alone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeaS6vlPUSk
Stolen Words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJxpzyVRc7w
You Hold Me Up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1fzf6vNBX4
Over the next week I invite you to print off and colour the feather that is attached to this email. These will be collected with the goal of having 215 coloured feathers displayed at the Cathedral as one way of remembering the children.
Gitxsan artist Michelle Stoney has provided the attached feather for use for this purpose. This is what she writes about the feather she has drawn:
“Some people are asking what is in the feather, so I’ll explain it here.
First of all the feather represents so much in our culture. Maybe too much to even explain so I’ll just say what it means to me in the hand and this one. To me it means strength and healing , we really value to feather and it means so much to us. I know we use it for smudging , and to me that represents cleansing .
Inside the feather is the spirit of the 215 children. The face on the bottom is not an animal. That is how I draw people , and I wanted to make long flowing hair, that they were forced to cut.
And there is also a hand on top, kinda referencing the hand design I did last year.
But really this can mean something to someone else. I don’t want to force people what to think. I just like it when people connect on their own way. I’d love to hear stories of what this means to you.
And for the colours, I’m thinking lots of different colours, our people didn’t have a choice on what they could wear when at these places , so I’m imagining it coloured all colours , but again that’s up to you. I appreciate people asking if it’s meant to be coloured in black and red, but I didn’t design it that way, but by all means you can:)”
The Cathedral answered the call and the feathers came pouring in. On Sunday June 20 we celebrated National Indigenous Peoples Day during our 10am online service with the feathers proudly on display. Thank you to Jon Buckle for arranging them on display!
After the service we rang the church bell 215 times in memory of the residential school discovery