Honoring, Healing and Remembering

Warren Petoskey (Lakota/Odawa) and his wife Barbara

On Wednesday June 6th 2012 we attended a special gathering hosted by the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe in Mt. Pleasant Michigan.

The government has given the Tribe the land and buildings where the Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School  was located. It was established in 1893 and ran till 1934 with an average of 300 students per year.

Our friend Warren Petoskey from Michigan was an honored guest and the day included the showing of a DVD documentary that he helped direct and produce about the Mt. Pleasant school.

Also our friends Mike Peters and Kelly Ellis of 4-Fires Ministry attended with us and participated in the prayers and tours.

It was a deeply moving day as many Elders shared their own experiences and those of their parents. I was born and raised in Michigan and found it difficult to hear and process the sorrow, pain and injustices that have taken place on that property.

It is hard to believe that such things took place in the “Land of the Free” where everyone is supposed to be considered “equal”. The pursuit of happiness was certainly denied these children.

Spirit Runners carried, through the streets and then into the gathering, the names of over 150 children who died while in that school. A roll call announcing the names of all the children was made in the afternoon. Officially only 5 children were reported to had died there, but independent agencies are helping the Tribe to verify the many hundreds of deaths that actually took place. New names are found regularly.

The atrocities that took place there are too horrible to write into this post. A Tribal spokesperson said, “Today we are forgiving the unforgivable, this gathering is a part of that process that will go on for many years.”

Christian Pastors were asked to speak, share and pray as a part of the spiritual component of the gathering.

The purpose of the gathering was to honor the memory of the children and the families affected by the school and to acknowledge the pain and suffering so that healing can take place.

Please say a prayer today for the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe and for the affected families.

Attend next year if you can.


Comments

Honoring, Healing and Remembering — 4 Comments

  1. I do wish I had been able to join you my freinds. Please keep me up to date to other events like this taking place. The real question is whether we look at human life from the point of view of the nation or of life. The “eyes of the nation” are quick to reduce people to numbers and inanimate objects, enslaving human life to the interests of those in power. But the “eyes of life” look at each individual as precious, irreplaceable and unique. Human history has long awaited the time when the energy of hope and creativity will arise from among the most downtrodden and oppressed. We need to awaken to a common consciousness of all being inhabitants of Earth. This consciousness is not to be found in some distant place. It will not be found on a computer screen. It lies in our hearts, in our ability to share the pain of our fellow human beings. It is the spirit that says: “As long as you are suffering, whoever you are and whatever your suffering may be, I suffer also.” J.P. Driscoll

  2. There are no words that can express what I feel in my heart. I have tried to express them on facebook under the picture, but ended up with broken sentences. The day was another turning point in our lives. The vision of the Saginaw-Chippewa in hosting this event and the number of people involved in organizing and planning was over-the-top. I woke this morning and put my tobacco down giving thanks for what I saw and felt. Barb and I’s lives will never be the same. To every speaker…to everyone who attended…the honor do all the hard work to bring this event to the level it was…what can one say, but humbly offer tears of thanks from a grateful heart.

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