July 1st a Day of Healing in Sioux Lookout
Tim Brody - Editor
Organized by husband-and-wife Victor and Romaine Lyon, July 1st was a Day of Healing in Sioux Lookout.
Beginning with a sunrise ceremony, a sacred fire was lit and burned throughout the day at the top of Rotary Park hill in mourning of residential school survivors and victims.
“Last year we had a day of healing in remembrance of those 215 (unmarked graves) that were found at (the former) Kamloops Indian Residential School,” Victor Lyon shared. “I thought to myself maybe I could do this once again, provide another day of healing for people that are still suffering, it’s an ongoing thing for Indigenous people where they feel the sting and the pain of the residential school system. It bleeds into the youth too and they don’t even realize what they’re being affected by. So, I just wanted to try and provide an avenue, an opportunity for people to come and pray, sing, talk, share, whatever they need to do in order to enjoy the day and provide healing for them.”
“We did this last year also,” Romaine Lyon said. “It’s because of Canada Day and what it represents to the Anishinaabe people. Instead of celebrating Canada Day, we would just like to have a healing day. A day of healing for all the people, not just Anishinaabe.”
Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa shared in his Canada Day message on social media, “July 1 is Canada Day. We recognize that for many Canadians choosing whether to celebrate Canada Day is a complicated decision.
“Now, more than ever, we are being confronted by the real history of Indian Residential Schools, which Indigenous people have always known. As more survivors tell their stories, and more graves are found, celebrating the date of Confederation doesn’t fell right for many. We should not ignore these feelings, but rather channel them into action.
“I understand that Canadians love this country. Canada serves as a land of opportunity, a place of refuge, and most importantly, home.
“Everyone who lives on this land are treaty people. It is the collective responsibility of all Canadians to uphold the treaties that made Canada possible in the first place.
“It is my hope that Canadians will be able to strike a balance between honouring all that Canada has done for them today, while still recognizing the real history of oppression, colonialism, and genocide.”