W h e r e i s L i n d a ? . . . J u n e 2 0 2 2
My continued Interest in the healing of personal, collective and intergenerational trauma led me to researching the stories and history of the residential school system in Canada, where I now reside.
Many indigneous children suffered abuse at the hands of those whose aim was to strip them of their language and their culture. These schools were operated by churches and religious organizations and were administered and funded by the federal government as a key aspect of colonialism.
Residential schools operated between the 1870s and the 1990s, the last one being shut down in 1996. The children were forced to attend a foreign public education system against the will of their parents and families. Caregivers who did not turn their children over to the state were criminally prosecuted.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which was formed and active from 2008 to 2015, listened to and documented the stories of survivors of the residential school system, as well as those of their families and communities.
In May 2021 a ground-penetrating radar survey discovered what is believed to be the remains of 215 children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., bringing attention once again to a dark chapter in Canadian history.
Waskasoo Seepee Traditional Pow Wow
During June, in Red Deer, the Waskasoo Seepee Traditional Pow Wow was organized around the theme of 'Remembering the Children'. I determined to go. It was incredible to experience such an event for the first time. iPhone in hand, I set about capturing the energy I was sensing all around me.
POW WOW! Series
National Indigenous Peoples Day
Nadine Szakacs says, “With traditional pow wow, the dancing is about prayer. Every dancer out there is praying, and when you get into Indigenous culture, you’ll learn prayer is a crucial part of the healing process,” she says. “Speaking with Creator, speaking their truth, whether they’re asking for help to heal themselves, or their parent, or someone else, that is the main focus.”
Powwows are Indigenous cultural celebrations where many forms of dance styles are performed as part of the ceremony. Each dance style has a meaning or origin story and a specific purpose. Regalia, the distinctive clothing and ornamentation worn by the dancers, corresponds to the different dance styles.
Pow wow dancers dress in regalia specific to their dance categories. This can include eagle feathers, hair roaches, jewelry, moccasins, and makeup. Powwow clothing and other accessories are created carefully and attentively and hold a deep and spiritual significance to each dancer.