Sunday, April 17, 2016

What's In Your Basket?

We all carry an invisible basket.  In that basket is our family, language and culture, love and caring, our childhood and more.

I have been participating in a professional learning group addressing First Nations awareness and issues.

This Thursday I had the privilege of participating in an exercise that demonstrated the impacxt of residential schools.

I was given a woven basket.  Pretty and light. I was asked to rest it on my arms.  Inside the basket were index cards labelled, family, language, childhood, and love and caring.

One by one, as I was removed from my family and home and taken to a residential school each of these cards was removed and replaced with a rock.

At first the weight was noticeable but bearable.  With each additional rock it became more difficult to bear the weight.  I was determined so I held onto the basket.  I made a few adjustments in how I held it but I held on to it.  Honestly, I didn't know how much longer I could hold it.  A few minutes, sure.  An hour?  I didn't think so.  A whole day?  No way.

Eventually, people were asked to remove the rocks one by one.  With each rock removed my burden was significantly lighter.  When the last rock was removed I felt overwhelming relief.

But my basket was empty.

I will never forget the feeling of holding that basket.  How heavy it was.  How I felt I could not put it down or pass the burden to anyone else.   How for brief moments I considered giving up.

I also will not forget each time someone stepped in to take a piece of that burden.  I was relieved, grateful and felt acknowledged.  Someone noticed what I was going through and has chosen to take action.

That is what First Nations communities are dealing with.  They are attempting to refill the baskets that were emptied.  Not with burdens but with the things that enrich our lives.  We can all help fill each others' baskets with experiences that help nourish, protect and grow.

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