I am creating this space as part of my journey of discovery of my new home-land.
It is a place to honour and find inspiration in traditions and ways of being not part of my personal history; to explore ideas, beliefs, stories and art forms.
It is also a place from which to bear witness to the deep, multi-generational pain wrought by the actions of those who came before me to this place and, instead of seeing native peoples with a rich indigenous culture, wisdom and a deep relationship to the land, saw only half-wild savages to be tamed and re-shaped to their own likeness.
I am no expert, lay no special claim to knowledge or understanding. But I know it matters. So this is my space in which to investigate and record what interests me, what excites me, what saddens me, what resonates.
I believe strongly that the stories we tell about ourselves shape our lives profoundly. What happens when, instead of being told, those stories fall into a chasm of silence because this seems the only safe place for them in the context of the community? What happens when a culture with a strong oral tradition is forced into a forgetting of the words, of the cadence as well as the wisdom of its storytelling? What happens when established ways of dealing with difficult experiences are derided or forgotten? How does the pain of the unspoken shape the lives of individuals and of a people?
And what happens when a dominant culture also adopts a code of silence? When at least a part of the message of apology seems to have a subtext; “those were different people, different times – I’m not like that”? What that we are doing now will that dominant culture be ‘apologizing’ for in 50 or 100 years?
It gladdens my heart that Canada has a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is a beginning. Some of the stories are being told and being heard. Learning about this work is an important part of my search for a deeper understanding.