Truth and reconciliation

April 23, 2014 | God at work in the World | Number 9
By Irene Crosland |
Irene Crosland adds some prairie sage to the sacred fire burning outside one of the main entrances to the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, the site of the seventh and final national Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) event. She wrote this poem as a result of her experiences at the TRC event.

Gathering crowd surges
Finding space
Residential School survivors
And listeners
This is my time
You listen
Throbbing drum beats
Pulsing loudly
Tonal language singing
Prayers lifting
Bowed shoulders quake
Remembering robbed childhood
Secrets buried deeply
Opening carefully
Angry man turns
“It is enough”
Seated at round tables
History books open
Photos bring painful memories
Faces longingly remembered
Decorated man stands proud
Preaching his story
Caregivers in red vests
Give water and tissues
Gather tears
Sacred fire burns
Accepting gifts
Old friend reveals a hidden secret
Embracing whole heritage
Settler brings a gift to share
Sage and special heron feather
Together we gather
To remember
Together we meet
To reconcile
History is rewritten
Honour given
Repentance spoken
In a circle building trust
And reconciliation

—Posted April 23, 2014

For more on Mennonites and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, see:

‘The truth was hard’

Anabaptist church leaders offer statement to residential school survivors

A modest proposal for truth, reconciliation

‘A foolish act of love’

‘Four directional thinking’ on indigenous-settler relations

American Mennonites attended past TRC event

One thing lacking (sermon)

Who is blind? (sermon)

Truth and reconciliation is ‘sacred work’ 

Day schools issue hits home 

Irene Crosland adds some prairie sage to the sacred fire burning outside one of the main entrances to the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, the site of the seventh and final national Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) event. She wrote this poem as a result of her experiences at the TRC event.

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