We are a member of the Northern Athapaskan language family. Athapaskan languages are spoken throughout the Notherwestern Subarctic regions. The language of the Navaho and the Western Apache of the US southwest also belongs to the Athapaskan language family. Dakelh in Central BC is divided intro three main dialects- Central, Babine and Southern Dakelh. The traditional language of Saik'uz is Southern Carrier.
The community was invited to make a square and contribute it to a community quilt to commemorate the residential school experience. Each one of us suffers in some way from the effects of residential school. Some wanted to commemorate a loved one who attended and some wanted to communicate what the community was lacking because of residential school.
The question was posed: What inspires you to heal?
As each person came to create a square, their stories came out about why they were doing a square and what it meant to them. The quilt evolved into a healing experience as many talked about what residential was like or about someone they knew who experienced it. Some listened and gained more understanding.
As is always the case when women gather there is a lot of laughter, laughter is healing. We learned a little more about one another and we all came away having a better understanding of the community we are living in and why some of our loved ones are the way they are. We talked about healing. We talked about our ancestors and how they used to be. We talked about what we could do to make our community better. And we laughed a lot.
As each square was completed a story was revealing itself and as you look at the quilt and begin to study it, square by square and as a whole, you may be able to read that story.
The story contains drama, sorrow, love, culture, family, and community. It is a story about Saik'uz, the place, and our people. It is about resilience and healing, and the shared desire to revive our culture.
We were so fortunate to have Ruth and Monica as our quilting instructors for this project. Their expertise and knowledge were invaluable in helping us to realize the vision for The Community Healing Quilt.
They helped each of us to accomplish our ideas for our square with patience and kindness. We were inspired by their passion for the art of quilting. With their help, we each created a piece of art that we can be proud of.
Simply, they are generous, kind spirited and wonderful women.
Thank you so much!
From all of us in the Quilt Room.