CURVE LAKE FN — At last week’s Legacy of Hope Residential School Symposium, Chief Phyllis Williams said that she hoped that by profiling the Legacy of Hope, it would enhance the relationships between our communities in municipalities, cities, schools, and First Nations.
“Citizens will have a broader and better understanding of the impacts that Residential Schools had on the lives of our Native people,” said Williams. “Hopefully the gap in relationships will close and we can work stronger together in various partnerships and collaboration.”
Students attended six workshops throughout the day. Wes Marsden, Anne Taylor, Freddy Taylor, Merritt Taylor, Shirley Williams, Karen Watt and Tonya-Leah Watt and the Tracks Program from Trent-led workshops. Topics included: language, treaties, reconciliation, ways of understanding the world around us and personal stories of residential school experiences.
Students also had the opportunity to spend time at the Scared Fire. Fire Keepers Donavan Taylor, Mike Hunter and Denell Taylor, along with Kawartha Pine Ridge School Board Consultant, Sherri Mattson, shared the fire teachings.
The Red Path Singers and Drum group from Ridpath Public Sschool, led by Adrian Webb and Jolene Moriarty, filled the cafeteria with their powerful voices and drumming. Senior Administration and Trustees, Jennifer LeClerc, Gloria Tompkins, Diane Lloyd and Mary Lynch-Taylor, also supported the event by attending the workshops and touring the exhibition.
A small group of students worked for eight months putting the event together. “I did all this because I wanted people to know about our past and to stop discrimination. I feel like we did this,” said Raven Taylor, Nagaanoosed.
Aydan Taylor and Raven Taylor, student co-ordinators of the event, were honoured with an Eagle feather at the closing ceremonies. Students gathered at the Sacred Fire as Merritt Taylor spoke about the power of the day and the leadership Aydan and Raven showed in putting the event together.
The community event held in the evening was a great success. Community members packed the gym to tour the exhibit, learn about the residential school system from Bryan Ransom, a Truth and Reconciliation Witness and then to hear from the Mushkegowuk Walkers, Survivors and their families who stopped on their way to Ottawa to speak with the audience. The Walkers received a standing ovation and the crowd pooled almost $400.00 to give the Walkers to help cover their costs.
“The attendance for the community was overwhelming and many people from all over came to listen and participate. The Reconciliation Walkers came to support the event, and our school trustees were all part of a process of learning to help the healing,” stated Wilf Gray, Principal of Lakefield District Intermediate Secondary School.