This poem is inspired by Jenny's mother, a resilient survivor of the Mohawk Institute Residential School. She is from Kanesatake First Nations in Oka, Quebec.
Karáhkwa Kanónnia (translates to Sundance) beautifully captures the pain, strength and resilience passed down through generations. Words are powerful and storytelling can help heal wounds, and bridge divides.
Karáhkwa Kanónnia (Sundance)
by Jenny Kenkraken-Oskenonton
On September's final day,
We gather, hearts heavy, we say,
A day of truth and remembrance,
For those who suffered, a solemn essence.
Orange shirts worn with deep respect,
A symbol of resilience, a solemn aspect,
For in these shirts, we honour and pray,
For the survivors of a haunting yesterday.
Residential schools, a painful past,
Where innocence was broken, love surpassed,
Underfunded halls tainted with abuse,
Children's spirits bruised, their trust confused.
But on this day, compassion blooms,
As we listen to survivors' tales of wounds,
We pledge to learn from history's scars,
To heal the wounds and tear down the bars.
United we stand, hand in hand,
Seeking reconciliation across this land,
With open hearts, we strive to mend,
The long-lasting impacts that still descend.
So let us remember, on this day and forevermore,
The strength of survivors who endured and soared,
With love and understanding as our guide,
We march forward on this healing stride.