Listen…to the story

Many tragic stories were told yesterday, the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in the land called Canada. Although rooted in tragedy, it felt like the time has come to begin to bring these stories into the light. A sense of relief, in a way, that these deeply buried traumas are being told. Yet also triggering grief as these memories are revisited. Telling and listening to these stories are the truth part of truth and reconciliation.

People can be transformed by being open and human. We believe that people have a need to be heard, but how they are heard really matters – if they take the risk of telling their story, it needs to make a difference.

Denise Altvater

And yesterday was Orange Shirt Day. The following is from my friends of the Great Plains Action Society.


My friend Lucy Duncan wrote the following years ago, on the occasion of the seating of the Maine-Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Listen…to the story

All they knew was the reservation
The bit of land that wasn’t stolen
They lived surrounded by the sea
The few that had survived
They were poor, but this was home

One day, the state came
No one said where they were going
They rode in a car for the first time
Taken from all they knew, and from those they loved
To strange homes and ways
Where some were cared for, others beaten and broken
But either way, they longed for home, for the places they belonged
Taken far from who they were, far from their heart mother
Into places that would demand that they forget
But the heart keeps beating like a drum

Hard won, the journey home has begun
With each story told of the pain of separation, of loss, of hurt
With each story held lovingly
And carried with tenderness by those who listen
They are slowly coming home
Home to look each other in the eye and say, “I see you.”
Home to family lost
Home to ways of being that rest on their limbs like skin

As each story is told, another story rises
A mother tells of being taken
A son tells how her hurts were passed on to him
How he passed them on to his children
Recognition comes, the hurts so deep begin to heal
The children waiting to be born will learn the story
But not carry this deep weight of pain

The stories together
Tell the whole truth
The truth that stings as it heals
And maybe, just maybe, if all of us can hear
In our bones, in our being
Even those descended from the ones who plotted decimation
We will remember
To honor the mother, all mothers
To honor the land, all land
To honor the Spirit, rising

Shh…. listen….

Lucy Duncan

The journey home: a prayer for healing by Lucy Duncan, American Friends Service Committee, Feb 7, 2013

2 thoughts on “Listen…to the story

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: