You were found in unmarked graves
Acts of genocide
Your precious lives taken
With spirits so strong
We heard your cries
To go home
Rest well little ones
And fly high with our ancestors
We will not forget you
You are sacred
By Leah Gazen, MP Winnipeg Centre
I imagine her playing in the front yard, rolling in the tall grass, the warmth of the sun on her rosy cheeks. I imagine her curled up in her mother’s arms, feeling safe in the strength of her embrace. I imagine her surrounded by family – brothers, sisters, cousins, elders – each a part of her story.
I don’t want to imagine what comes next. It’s too painful to contemplate. But I can’t ignore it. It’s the thing that once known can never be unknown. And so, I imagine it because telling the truth is the first step.
I don’t know if it was a cold and snowy or a bright, sunny day. I imagine she cried in terror when we pulled her from her mother’s arms. I imagine her father swung his fists in rage and her mother’s body shook with grief. I imagine we took her.
I don’t know what happened next but it’s important I try. And so, I imagine we cut her hair. I imagine we erased her name. I imagine we made her kneel and pray to a God she did not know in a language she did not understand. I imagine she was afraid.
I don’t know what happened next but I know she died. I imagine the unimaginable.
And now I am compelled to imagine this story 214 more times.
In memory of the 215 children whose bodies were recently discovered buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, our school’s flag will fly at half-mast for nine days; one hour for each life taken.