June 3, 2021
Spirits don’t die. Our stories don’t either.
Just last week we watched in horror as we learned that 215 bodies of Indigenous children were discovered at Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. Two hundred and fifteen bodies. And that’s just one school. In the United States alone there were nearly 350 schools across 30 states as part of the state-sanctioned efforts to “civilize” Indigenous communities, a strategy of the settler-colonial project.
You may ask yourself, “that was then, this is now. What does this have to do with our work to end violence?” It has EVERYTHING to do with our work. This is the long, sordid legacy of settler-colonialism and white supremacy that Indigenous communities STILL remember and STILL feel the effects. The stories of abuse, violence, and shame are the stories of our elders who are still among us. There are stories from schools still operating late into the 1970’s. These are stories of trauma, erasure, and pain. Those 215 babies would be our language carriers and culture keepers now had they been able to live lives.
Addressing the atrocities of the past is no easy feat. Repairing harm is no easy feat. But it is necessary to ensure that we are serving these communities in strengths-based ways. As Dr. Abigail Echohawk reminds us “Indigenous peoples are leading. We need people to come to us because they know we have the answers, not because they think we have all the problems.” Indigenous communities recount and retell their stories regardless of the shame and pain with deep hopes that it informs our work now, that we do not make the same mistakes of the past, despite our best intentions.
Across Indigenous communities in both Canada and the United states, we hear stories of grief and loss after the news of our 215 ancestors. This was an act of genocide and the subsequent cause of intergenerational trauma; many folks in Indigenous communities are now triggered after hearing the news. “Surviving genocide does something to your spirit– As survivors and descendants of survivors, we grieve, and then we organize forward, carrying with us the hopes and dreams of our ancestors. We push forward and in a way that deeply honors our past, embraces the present, and cultivates hope for a liberated future.” (Sarah Sunshine Manning from In Memoriam: Carrying the Hopes and Courage of 215 Children)
Our call to each of you is to honor the past as Indigenous people tell it, embrace Indigenous voices in your work in the present, and cultivate hope for collective thriving in our future. Changing the world requires a little bit from each of us.
Three Things to reach out to me for:
Expect Respect’s Service Provider Training on Teen Dating Abuse
Thursday, June 3rd at 11am PT/12pm MT/1pm CT/2pm ET |
Register here to join us in an interactive session for adult service providers in becoming better advocates for the youth they serve through exploration of healthy and unhealthy dating behaviors, boundaries, and tools to support youth disclosures of relationship violence.
Advocate Training COVID Series
August- Date and time to be announced |
The Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence invites you to a collective reading opportunity throughout the summer and continue the Advocate Training series with a book discussion in August. Based off of the learnings and highlights from the Advocate Trainings this year, we selected books discovering healing, wellness, and radical self-love. We believe these books are meaningful to all experiences and can inform your work as advocates and support wellness and healing as we move out of the COVID-19 pandemic fatigue. Please take a minute to complete this survey and choose the book you are most energized by and want to engage in a conversation with other advocates across the state!
Please complete the survey no later than Friday, June 11, 2021.
Email any questions to Kailey at firstname.lastname@example.org
*** ALL material orders are currently on hold, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. ***Reminder that shipping for all material orders made by Programs on the Idaho Coalition website store is FREE of cost, please use the below coupon for all orders.