Well, I don’t know about all of you but for the last year and a bit (since the pandemic started last March) I have been very cautious when leaving my house, careful about who I am around, washing and sanitizing my hands a lot and of course wearing my mask (sometimes causing my anxiety to get the best of me which is scary as I am usually happy to be OUT and ABOUT) but for the first time, starting this past weekend (Saturday to be exact) I began to feel like we are slowly getting to some kind of “New Normal” as I have been to Lamoureux Park 3 times in a matter of days but of course still keeping my distance from people and still wearing my mask.
While I was hibernating, I was enjoying visiting with my furry and feathered friends in my garden and one of these friends is “Chippy” who you see in the header photo. He would come to eat and then scurry away but this past weekend he came out and stayed long enough for me to take the photo (which makes me smile each time I look at those stuffed cheeks). It’s like he was feeling that it was safe enough to come out and stay out for a bit longer!
215 Steps for Kamloops 215
This past Saturday (June 5th) I attended the “215 Steps for Kamloops 215” a memorial walk for the 215 children whose bodies were found buried on the grounds of the Indian Residential School in Kamloops BC. That morning I stopped by St. Columban’s Church on Fourth Street to talk to Georgina Lazore who has been at the front of the church with a Memorial she created for all the children who didn’t come home from the Kamloops Residential School in Kamloops, BC. due to her closeness to the Kamloops story.
Julia and I were very happy that Georgina came on our “Monday Morning Motivation Show” this past Monday (June 7th) to talk about her connection with the school. She told us that she was the first generation in her family to never attend the Kamloops Indian Residential school but saw many of her family members being taken away to this place (some forcibly). Whereas as a child she so desperately wanted to go but is now so happy that her parents didn’t let her. She has decided to spread the truth and bring awareness about the suffering of her people, starting in Cornwall, a place she has called home for the last 30 years.
Click here to watch the show: https://www.facebook.com/TheSeekerNewspaper/videos/1151326502039025
What a wonderful turnout for the walk. I don’t think Tara Francis, the organizer of the walk (the lady you might have seen in the wheelchair because she had just had surgery on her leg, a few days prior), or Georgina, expected such a large turnout as support. It was beautiful to see the sea of orange in front of the church where we heard Georgina telling her story (everyone had been asked to wear orange in memory of the children from the Residential Schools) and at 2:15 the bells of St. Columban’s started ringing as the Memorial walk commenced down to the boat launch near the RCAF. Social distancing, mask wearing and all the protocols for Covid were respected by everyone and once we reached the dock, after a closing speech, everyone placed their white flowers (which everyone was given at the church) into the water to remember the 215 children. My flower if the single carnation in the first photo of the flowers. The bells rang 215 times as we walked in memory of the 215 children.
The whole event was very moving and close to the heart of any parent as these 215 children were forcibly taken away, some as young as 3 years old. I can’t imagine how these poor children felt nor their parents who were forced to let the children go (or be arrested if they didn’t). As a mother I would be devastated if anything like that were to happen to any of my children and to find out that at these schools the children became a number as their names were removed, they were punished if they dared to speak their native language and all traces of their heritage were taken away. The sad thing is that there were were many other schools like this across the country and they were operating til 1996 when the last one was shut down.
Yesterday (Thursday June 10th) Georgina was at the church for the last day of the 10 Day Feast surrounded by shoes, clothing, toys and food that people have bought and placed on the church steps for the children. In the Native tradition when a person dies they are celebrated for 10 days with a 10 day Feast and a fire that is kept burning by a Fire Keeper. I was happy to meet a gentleman who Georgina referred to as the Fire Keeper for these children Even though there wasn’t a real fire outside the church, Andrew James Joseph Mallette (seen in photo below), from the Kahnawake Indian Reserve, watched over the children for 2 days and 2 nights making him the Fire Keeper without even realizing it!
Around 5pm Georgina and her helpers started packing everything up and I went to see her and find out how she is feeling. She said that it was a very emotional day for but her but she has finally got some closure and found her peace and hopes that the 215 children can find some peace now as well and feel that they haven’t been forgotten. She said that Deacon Guy and Father Earnest had stopped by to say how much they will miss seeing her at the front of the church. Georgina will be donating the shoes, clothes, toys and food to “Unity Street Help of Cornwall” to help out the less fortunate and she will take the 5 outfits that she bought to represent the children home where she will be having a burn for them. She told me that it is a tradition to burn everything that the deceased owned and feed them with their favourite foods so that they won’t be hungry on their journey. Where will Georgina go from here – “from today forward I will continue to bring awareness wherever I go” she told me.
The story about the children shocked everyone and now we are wondering what happens next.
We are happy to announce that Tara Francis, the lady who was behind organizing the walk that took place on Saturday, will be joining Julia and I as out guest on our Monday Morning Motivation Show this coming Monday (June 14th) at 10am on The Seeker Facebook page. She will be discussing where we go from here.
The Cornwall Waterfront Farmer’s Market
The second event that I attended was the Cornwall Waterfront Farmers’ Market that was held in the parking lot of the Civic Complex on Water Street on Sunday, June 6th. A perfect location as the white tents of the vendors were clearly visible from the road and there are a lot of parking spaces in this location.
While at the Market I was on the lookout for something different that Julia and I could Taste Test in our Monday Morning Munchy Taste Test Segment of the Monday Morning Motivation Show and I came across the perfect item at the Elevated Eats booth. After chatting with the 2 chefs at the booth, Tyler Greene (right) and Alain Maltaise, (left) my ears perked up when I heard the words “Bacon Jam” and of course that is what I picked up to try along with freshly made “Parker House Rolls” made by the third member of the team, Pastry Chef Jordan Phillips. … and what did we think of this combo … well put it this way Julia gave it a 9.5 out of 10 and I gave it a 10.5 out of 10. You can watch us Taste Testing this sweet yet savoury item here – about three quarters of the way through the show:
I do have to say that it felt good, after so long to be able to see and visit with people although I am still very cautious and careful and am happy that things have started to open again today causing me to believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Rainbows for Love
My third visit was again in Lamoureux park with a wonderful artist friend of mine, Yafa Goawily, https://www.facebook.com/yafacrafts who is also one of our Seeker contributors and such an energetic lady who is everywhere sharing her Love of Art and especially during the month of June (Pride Month) sharing her rainbow images throughout the park to support Pride month.
You can find hearts drawn randomly in the park as well as a big rainbow by the Clock Tower. There are also chalks on the ground with the message – Share your love, so that everyone can share Yafa’s love of art and colour – use these chalks to draw your own hearts!
Yafa showed me the Rainbow Bags that she has been making that can be purchased for $10 with partial proceeds going to the Diversity Cornwall. These bags can be purchased through the Yafa Arts & Crafts Facebook page or the Diversity Cornwall Facebook Page. I have to say – Just talking to this lady, you can feel the positive vibes and energy flowing from her.
For the month of June people are encouraged to decorate their homes with a Rainbow to show support and love for the LGBT community and because again this year (due to Covid) there won’t be a Pride Festival in Cornwall businesses are encouraged to have their own Pride events and there is a home decorating contest going on as well.
To hear more please check out:
https://www.facebook.com/thecornow/videos/295310258927829 as Yafa interviews Liz Quenville of diversity/diversité cornwall, or visit www.diversitycornwall.ca
and also check out Yafa Arts & Crafts where Yafa shows how to make your own rainbow to show your support.
See you soon for another OUT and ABOUT with Seeker Chick Mai-Liis and be sure to tune in to “Monday Morning Motivation with the Seeker Chicks” at 10am on The Seeker Facebook Page (Monday, June 14th) where we will be talking to Tara Francis about 215 Steps for Kamloops 215 and where do we go from here…
and in the meantime Stay Safe and Healthy and have yourselves a Super Duper Weekend!
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