I have oftentimes imagined that the Centre Block on Parliament Hill is representative of the heart of the Canadian Nation. Like the human heart, from which comes our ability to be kind, brave, wise, generous, sharing and all of those other honourable traits that define us as human beings, so too, are the workings taking place in the Centre Block also capable of producing those very same things for our country, Canada. What is truly sad is that the human heart can also produce hatred and cruelty even to the point that innocent children will suffer because of it. The human heart and the Centre Block (the heart of the Nation) are really entities onto themselves. We, as human beings, will have to account for the wrongs we are guilty of, those hateful things we did that were against the teachings of the human heart will one day confront each and all of us. The Centre Block, the Nation’s heart, will never experience the spiritual reckoning as the evil among us certainly will. The Nation’s heart will never be truly accountable for the wrongs it has done. Governments will come and go. The heart of the Nation will keep a-pounding regardless of the sins of the past. The Canadian heart (the Centre Block) knows no shame. It feels no guilt. If it did, it would do what is right. Doing what is right, is condemning Canada’s former prime minister for the monster that he was. If Macdonald had a heart, it is difficult to believe that it was a human one.
The dreadful brutality of the Nation’s heart lays yet in the grave alongside the bodies of the 215 children discovered at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Its presence among the decaying bodies of innocent children stains the purity of their short lives. The spirits of the dead children call out to Canadians to finally see what the heart of their Nation is guilty of.
I find myself in wonder about the children in the grave at Kamloops. Without them, what became of the waters of their family lineage? To what degree would the sunrises and sunsets of their days have shaped and molded them? They were born as beautiful and innocent human beings. They died, only because the purity of their hearts conflicted with that of the heart of the Nation.
I wrote the following poem years ago:
Ninidjànis (My Child)
Dedicated to the children who suffered humiliation and death at the Residential Schools
by Albert Dumont ©
Your heritage, oh, noble child
Carried violently into the swirling winds
Of cultural genocide
All your innocence sacrificed
For the ransom of the civilized
Your song denied
Your spirit ravaged
Your mind crucified
Yet the surrogate did not weep
When your heart gave in, to conjured sleep
No tears, for the ward of the “savage” wild
Even though, thousands died
But God blessed you as special ones
In the Spirit Place beyond the sun
Where even the shadows of men who hate
Will never challenge to leave their weight
Where you complete the ancient plan
Of the Sacred treaty, made between God and man
If a mass grave containing 215 children as young as 3 years old was found in the grounds near Auschwitz or somewhere in Rwanda, I know that world leaders would be reacting differently than they are now. It is so because world leaders have never cared to have a relationship of respect and honour with their Indigenous populations. Indigenous children are not worth as much to the world as others are.
May all of our children who died in Canada’s Residential Schools rest in eternal peace and love.
Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind (Albert Dumont)
Meegwetch for your accounting of the Truth of innocence lost,of Family destroyed,of Nations grieving your poem has brought forth the tears of a Kokum if only I could wrap them in my Granmother shawl to comfort them to let them have a gentle hand to tend to them,but this I know my Mom will welcome them as she is there where they have gone,thank you Albert for your words,and for saying what others are thinking
I mourn for these children, for the loss of love, for the darkness that invaded the hearts of those who ran the schools and of the decisions makers. I will pray for healing of the next generations, and I will love each and every individual where I go, fighting for change.