Submitted by the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre
The Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society’s Mental Health Outreach program led by Sonia Palmer funded by Northern Health would like to take the opportunity to thank Ms. Liliana Pesce and her Grades 4 and 5 students for their gracious and kind visit to the Centre May 31.
Sonia, from the Gitxsan nation from the community of Gitanyow, holds the traditional name Ska’sii’sik (to pull something together).
She is a residential school survivor and Aboriginal Focused Oriented Therapy and Complex trauma worker. She has successfully partnered with Muheim Memorial Elementary School for the past six years to share information and history of residential schools.
“In addition to fostering healing, it is important to share the history of residential schools in order to fully understand the current status of Indigenous concerns within Canada,” explains Sonia.
Sonia holds dear to her heart, the many of the crafts that the Muheim school students have presented to her over the years, including posters and paper orange shirts, which they made for the flower garden with kind words of encouragement and healing.
One of the main messages the youth brought forward to Sonia yesterday was to remind her that she is not alone and that they are learning to help her heal and to make changes.
In addition, the students were grateful for the support of the local Safeway flower shop to provide flowers to support their message.
“It really takes a community effort and we wanted to take the time to acknowledge what has happened recently and know that we are here for you,” said Ms. Pesce.
The song “We won’t Forget You” from Sk’elep School of Excellence, a song to teach the students about the residential school and impacts it may have had on their family tree, was sung by the Grades 4 and 5 students and flowers were presented to Sonia in a heartfelt tearful moment for our community.
The Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre is truly grateful for the dedication and commitment of its partners to ensure healing within the community and we are grateful for the wonderful care to our elders.
-Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre