In summer 2021 outdoor 5Rhythms classes raised funds to support organizations
working to heal the tragedy of the Indian Residential School System of Canada.
On September 1, I passed $900 (50% of my proceeds) to:
Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society
Orange Shirt Society
We danced in beautiful St. Ann's garden at Providence Farm (above).
This land has been worked and loved in community service since 1979 by an independent secular organization offering therapeutic programming
to adults and seniors with mental health challenges, developmental and intellectual disabilities, and age-related illnesses.
It was occupied 1864-1964 by a school run by the Catholic order of St. Ann, with students from Indigenous and settler communities at different times.
I've made sporadic efforts in the last 10 years to research the school's role in our region, coming up relatively empty.
Recently I received some help from others, and confirmed that this school was not part of the group of five Residential Schools
found at Penelakut and 4 other places around Vancouver Island, contrary to what I previously understood from a government list
of schools that were both included in and excluded from compensation for victims.
The distinction is an important one as we make our gradual way through layers of stories and unknowns toward facts and disillusionment
about our past and present. My understanding of our history is a work in progress which I expect will be disrupted again. Such is the learning path.
My intention is to open our 2021 community, in a gentle and honest way, to the significance and the power of the places where we dance and live.
As we've met at this site since 2015, I've noticed that when people step onto these grounds to dance and reconnect, they become aware of and stirred by the layered and diverse histories and feelings of this place that has enduring meaning here. The power of this spot on Earth, and our personal relationship with what it might represent to us and to how we interact with communities, individuals, and the territory we occupy, are meaningful, and will be fruitful if we allow them to be.
This summer's gathering wave of confirmations of mass-murder and anonymous burial of thousands of Indigenous children by the Residential system has properly stirred and shaken us. This reality is one we can't depart, and it's a medicinal invitation for for us to learn, grow, and shift, within community.
These threads coming together provide the impulse for me to invite practice that includes real recognition of our history and its continued fallout,
with attention to significant local stories and locations, alongside great appreciation for this land and its caretakers.
I invite dancers to step into practice on this historical spot on Quw'utsun' land in human awareness of each impacted child,
and in respect for the Indigenous nations and communities who lost their beloved little ones forever.