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Honour Poem

(This poem was written by Michelle Nieviadomy and presented at the Canadian Native Friendship Centre, Edmonton, Alta. on Jan. 22, 2009.)

To my ancestors who have gone before me, oh what you have endured

A loss so profound, I believe your stories must be heard

Silence no more, speak the wrong that’s been done

I hope this is the season where true healing has begun

It is more than just the stories you have walked thru

Stolen was the childhood, the one you never quite knew

Taken from your own home with no understanding

Lost in a moment, your sense of belonging

Your braids were cut off, your clothes were taken

Everything you believed in was now completely shaken

From the language you spoke to the food you ate

Your very culture was stripped, just to assimilate

Forget the lullabies, the childish dream, the birthday wishes

Now began your nightmares, instead of butterfly kisses

In the darkest of dark, your long nights full of fears

Not having your mother to wipe away your young tears

For at the hands of another, broken bones and crushed spirits

The kind of names you were called, no child should ever have to hear it

I dare to imagine the life you didn’t choose

The things that had happened when you walked in your little shoes

But I want you know, I’ve listened with all my heart

I will remember the children the years their lives fell apart

To the men who have wept for the first time in years

To the women who are starting to look at their fears

To the ones whose stories have yet to be shared

To the lives lost for their burden was too hard to bare

I honor your journey, though long and hard

I acknowledge the memories that have left your soul scarred

Now I hope and I pray I will live to see

This hurting generation finally free

Free from the shame, the guilt and the sorrow

Out of the ashes can rise a better tomorrow


For information on Remembering the Children: an Aboriginal and Church Leaders' Tour to Prepare for Truth and Reconciliation, email

This page was last modified: March 30, 2009
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