His little bones have been secretly buried for years, alongside 215 other children, each with a name, unacknowledged, each with a story, untold. Mother Earth has quietly held him close. His mother has wept for years without closure. It was a September evening and he was helping his father clean the season’s first catch of salmon. She was inside the cabin, nursing their newborn daughter, softly singing in their native tongue. Hearing commotion, she ran outside to see armed men in uniform pushing her husband aside. Her screams echoed her young son’s as they carried him off.
She says time has not healed, only festered. Today, a gruesome discovery on the grounds of an old residential school is not the beginning. It is not the end. “Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.” Her heart aches not for apologys, but for honour, for peace.
For Merril’s prosery prompt, dVerse Poets Pub. The line she has chosen for us to include is quoted above, from Joy Harjo’s “A Map to the Next World”. It was a difficult task to stay within the 144 word maximum word count. This is a time of shock and shame in our country as a mass grave of 215 indigenous children was recently identified on the property of a Catholic run residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. Many survivors of these schools in both Canada and the U.S. have been forever scarred from abuse and assimilation, with obvious effects flowing into generations to come.