Shíshálh Chief Calvin Craigan welcomed four Sunshine Coast church officials onto his territory last Thursday, April 24 with open arms noting that his forefathers and mothers did the same thing 150 years ago with a much sadder outcome.
Rev. Janice Young of St. John’s United spoke on behalf of her colleagues Ian Nestegaard-Paul from Living Faith, Fr. Kiran Thumma from St. Bart’s and Rev. Clarence Li from St Hilda’s Anglican as they presented a $1,000 cheque to the shíshálh Nation as a contribution to their on-going legal challenge with the federal government on the issue of day scholars.
Craigan spoke haltingly at times as he recounted his experience as a residential school survivor and his wife’s harrowing experience of being taken as a three-year-old from her families’ loving arms into the hands of strangers.
Craigan went on to say that he had become a spirit dancer which is a long and sacred process that involves bathing in cold mountain waters, long periods of outdoor deprivation, fasting and ceremonies that are secret in nature, but very much a part of his healing process.
Young said although it was the organization that she serves that was responsible for some of the residential school experiences for First Nations students, she agreed that it was a healing moment for her as well as her colleagues and their churches.
The day scholar action involves three class-action lawsuits in Supreme Court against the government of Canada on behalf of more than 100 former students, their descendants and the Band itself for the resources needed to begin the healing process. The legal action began several years ago and is hoped to result in a certification position next year.
© Coast Reporter