Mark your calendars! After many long months of anticipation KDC received confirmation in November 2011 that the proposal submitted to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to host a cultural healing and reconciliation gathering in Lower Post was approved.
This gathering will acknowledge all former Residential School students, their families and even those who did not attend but were never-the-less impacted indirectly by the attendance of their family members, friends, grandchildren, and community members.
This event is scheduled to be held in Lower Post, BC, and will start on August 10 and will wrap-up on August 13, 2012. Activities throughout the four days will include: guest speakers, entertainers, dancers, traditional meals, cultural ceremony to cleanse the land, and provide former students with the opportunity to share stories and support one another.
The Kaska, Taku River Tlingit, and Tahltan First Nations are working collectively through various working groups and committees to ensure the effective planning and preparedness for community members who may wish to attend this event. The focus will be to celebrate the strength of the many survivors who attended the Lower Post Residential School and to draw upon the beauty and power of our land and culture.
We are also very pleased that Lesley Du Toit has agreed to work together with us in preparation of this gathering. Lesley is known by many in Northern BC for her pinnacle role in supporting the establishment of the Stikine Wholistic Working Group, and the Northern Nations reconciliation initiatives. Her background will bring a wealth of experience; including a first-hand account of the Truth and Reconciliation process that was undertaken in South Africa. This will contribute greatly towards a partnership linking restorative justice principles, with our First Nation values to develop a strong foundation to build our ceremony upon.
In the coming weeks, and months, the Stikine Wholistic Working Group and Lesley du Toit will be visiting northern BC First Nation communities to prepare for the Gathering Around the Fire ceremony. In addition we are seeking the services of Health Canada to provide support before, during and after the gathering.
We welcome Rosemary Rowlands, a Kaska Dena descendant, as the coordinator for the event. Rosemary has worked for many years in capacity building, restorative and aboriginal justice, and has been involved in providing residential school services for survivors, and raising awareness on intergenerational impacts.
A Residential School Survivors working group, representative of the three Northern Nations, has been established to work with the Rosemary Rowlands to plan and participate in this historical ceremony. A website will be up and running by the end of February where survivors can check out the activities, register online, volunteer, contribute ideas or get updates on various aspects of the schedule of events as they begin to take shape.
Look forward to further updates through newsletters, the KDC website, and please call or email Rosemary if you have any questions.
Rosemary Rowlands – 250.779.3181 / rowlands.rosemary(at)gmail.com
– Steven Jakesta –
Healing – Forgiveness – Freedom