(From left) Tseshaht Hereditary Chief Josh Goodwill, Elder Willard Gallic Sr., Hereditary Chief James Peters and Tseshaht member Martin Watts prepare to welcome visitors to Port Alberni for the healing and memorial event entitled Reclaiming Lost Souls of the Alberni Indian Residential School, Sept. 27 and 28.

Invitations extend across province for residential school healing event

Tseshaht First Nation hosting weekend to reclaim lost souls, in Port Alberni Sept. 27-28

Healing the pain and suffering caused by the residential school system is an ongoing process. You’re invited to share in a special event in Port Alberni designed to help those affected move forward in their journey.

The Tseshaht First Nation in Port Alberni is extending an invitation to members of 203 First Nations across B.C., and anyone else wishing to participate, to attend a broad-based healing and cleansing event Sept. 27 and 28.

Reclaiming Lost Souls of the Alberni Indian Residential School (AIRS) is designed to create a pathway home for the children who died at the school and whose spirits continue to have their presence felt on the former grounds of the AIRS, as well as help survivors navigate their difficult healing journey.

“There were so many children that never went home, they never had funerals – they just went missing,” Tseshaht member Gail K. Gus told Ha-Shilth-Sa in an interview. “And so, they’re around our reserve all over the place.”

Children from many nations arrived at Tseshaht

The residential school in Port Alberni has been closed for 46 years, but the memories remain for many current Tseshaht members and those around Vancouver Island and the province. Children from multiple nations were brought to AIRS over its 80 years of operations, which is a big reason why the Tseshaht are reaching out to nations around B.C.

“People that died [from] trauma or died unexpectedly, it’s important that we release that,” said Tseshaht member Ed Ross told Ha-Shilth-Sa. “We want to give the opportunity for other nations to come and clear that energy and to take back whoever is there.” Gus added that the children who died may not know the Nuu-Chah-Nulth language, which makes it important that their own descendants come to release their souls.

Cultural healers to provide supports

The Tseshaht are partnering with the Quu’asa Program to provide mental and emotional support resources on site, with cultural healers offering their services to anyone who may be triggered during the event or afterward. An invitation has been extended to cultural healers from other nations to attend to assist their own nations’ participants in the weekend.

Memorial, cleansing followed by celebration

The weekend begins with a commemoration ceremony honouring those who lost their lives, followed by a cleansing ceremony at the Maht Mahs gymnasium, part of the former AIRS. Healing-centred activities also start that day, and day two will celebrate the presence, strength and resilience of survivors and how the events of the past served to make aboriginal people everywhere stronger.

*****

If you’d like to participate in the weekend’s activities, please register at tseshaht.com or call 250-724-1225. For out-of-town guests, travel assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Organizers will contact those who have requested help.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Antibody tests could be the next step in fighting COVID-19, Island doctor says

The blood test could show if a person is recovering or has recovered from the virus

Greater Victoria resident shares joy in horseshoe pitching competitions from home

Horseshoe Pitching Online offers everyone the chance to compete

Life mimics art for actors in play about pandemic

Performers from Oak Bay theatre school see parallels with recent play based on 1918 Spanish flu

“Isolation is normal for us,” says Saanich dad with cystic fibrosis

Gordon Head man says now’s the time to approve life-saving cystic fibrosis drug

Victoria business still busy as people turn to books while in self-isolation

Russell Books says certain genres have gained popularity during COVID-19

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

Most Read