Musqueam First Nations
For the past couple of years, I have worked in my community learning about disabilities and challenges that many First Nations face each day most of which have gone undiagnosed. A lot of these multiple barriers are a result of the Residential School System.
I have sketched a picture taken of my aunt when she was in her late teens. I chose this picture to illustrate simply state that - she persevered. I placed her portrait on top of information about the Port Alberni Indian Residential School because it is symbolic of when she was forced to attend this school by the Canadian Federal Government's Indian Affairs Department. The writing signifies that behind every Residential School Survivor there are many untold stories that are often left unfinished due to the traumatic pain and memories they bring. Public articles and reports have only recently surfaced slowly over the years uncovering new facts, deepening our sadness and showcasing the once hidden reality of the Residential School System.
This drawing exemplifies that we all face challenges in life; we all have untold stories; it is how we learn from them and how we help each other move forward, which truly expresses our strength and endurance. I honour my aunt in my art piece because she is a strong influential woman, who has seen pain and suffering of our people, yet continues to promote respect and sincerity. She is motivation that healing is possible and that our culture and traditions can be continued with pride and dignity.