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We gathered September 10 to mark the installation of the Medicine Wheel on the grounds of St John’s Shaughnessy/Synod Office. It was also an opportunity to gather and explore next steps in the journey of Reconciliation.

Since May 2021, thousands of unmarked graves have been located on the grounds of former Residential Schools throughout Canada. Indigenous Peoples have always known about these Missing Ones and have lived with the loss and the pain. 

Raising Hearts to Remember seeks to honour the memory of the missing children. It is also a reminder to all that this is not history, it is about the present day and how we need to work together towards healing, caring and relationships based on mutual respect. 

In the words of Dr. Cindy Blackstock, “we should never look away again.”

Over the past year participants in this project learned about Canada’s Residential School history, and some participants shared their personal stories. They made felted hearts, representing the missing children, and tanned over 200 Salmon skins into leather, the salmon symbolizing the journey home. The leather skins were assembled to create a seven-foot Medicine Wheel that serves as a visual reminder of our shared responsibilities in Reconciliation.

The installation day was a full day of "drop-in" events which featured keynote addresses from the Reverend Ray Eldred, Director of the Indigenous Studies Program at Vancouver School of Theology (VST) and Nii K'an Kwsdins (Jerry Adams), Nisga'a Elder, parishioner at St. James, Vancouver and former Missioner for Indigenous Justice at the Diocese of New Westminster (just a few of his many accomplishments), Reconciliation information sharing, bannock making and a delicious chili lunch.

IMAGES

  • Elaine Aldred with a picture of her Bannock Mentor, Leona Gettle.
  • Participants at work stations learning about Reconciliation work.
  • Elaine’s mentor insisted there was no hair in your Bannock hence the shower caps and Elaine using a T Shirt
  • The Reverend Ray Aldred, Director of the Indigenous Studies Program at Vancouver School of Theology (VST) talking about his personal experiences growing up
  • Close up of  the Rev. Aldred 
  • Janey Chang, teacher of fish tanning. Janey's mentorship was central to the unique construction of the Wheel
  • Beading done by Melissa Adams for Coming Home Society
  • Bob Frampton, Chili Maker and Sheila Wex chatting
  • Linda Adams, ODNW and Kelly Habarugira making Bannock Fry bread
  • Making Fry Bread
  • Elaine Aldred leads Bannock making in kitchen
  • Vanessa LeBourdais leading Honour Song
  • Participants in the day, gather at Medicine Wheel for Honour Song

Photos: Courtesy of Kerry Baisley who was assisted by Gordon Hsieh and others