Move forward towards healing
My name is Dorothy Cardinal. I’m an elder from the Alexis Nakota Stony Reserve – Treaty 6 territory. When asked what does Orange Shirt mean to me, I have a mental block. I am an intergenerational survivor of the residential school system. Both of my parents attended residential schools for numerous years of their lives and learned a lot of helpful life skills like gardening, sewing, cleaning, reading, and writing. I entered a residential school in Grouard, Alberta when I was sixteen years old. Although it was considered a boarding school, I was forced by the Federal Government to go – I wasn’t allowed to attend any other schools.
Reconciliation to me involves acknowledging and remembering all the residential school survivors and the ones who never made it home. It is the opportunity to better understand why Indigenous peoples are suffering in today’s society. For us to move forward, we need to follow our ways, ways that help us connect, to have faith, hope, and love. As an Indigenous person, you are connected in the balance of the medicine wheel: mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This balance is very important. For me, I go to church because I am a strong believer in the Roman Catholic religion. This is how my parents raised me and I find my balance in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Reconciliation requires forgiveness, both of ourselves, and of others. It begins within our hearts and is the only way we can move forward towards healing. This is my hope for the Indigenous peoples of Canada.
Ish Nish! Amen.
By Dorothy Cardinal