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Why should That, affect you? (A response to)

by Adele Cameron

The most common phrase I have heard is: "That happened so long ago, hundreds of year's ago. Why are You angry at something that did not happen to you? Why should that even Affect you?"

.. in concern to colonization, residential schools.



I would like to share an image with you...



A few year's ago I went to the ROM in Toronto and they had a full wing in exhibit about Native American history. There was a blown up photograph of children in-front of a camera.
I will say 'in-front of',because a lot of them wouldn't look into the camera. Not the way kid's will willfully look away from them now in school photograph's. More of a, self distanced, *I am not here*, lost vacant look in their eyes.

Imagine uniform's with no color's.
Imagine looking at a photo and realizing that out of 250 of those children at least 20-70+ of them being abused directly by staff, part-time help, teachers, priests, nuns.
Imagine out of those numbers at least 10-20 of those children growing up and abusing the younger children, their peer's, their relatives, their far distant relations.

Imagine the Look on their face's
when they are ordered to line up for a photo. No one is smiling. There is not even a mischievous grin.

Imagine.
The impact of this photo if you could easily picture you're mother or you're aunts, your uncles, your grandparents in this photo.
Seeing them look at you with no joy.

I stood in-front of these photo and I felt like I was seeing the faces of the lost and forgotten..the unloved.

Then, by some grace I felt arms these arms wrap around me and this woman's warmth surround my chest through my tears I told her, that Looking At This Photo made me heart-broken.
You see, this past history is still tangible, I have felt it's affects since I've learned to ask my grandma
my aunt's
my uncles
my mother.

"What was it like...?"

01/13/2014

Posted on 01/13/2014
Copyright © 2020 Adele Cameron

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 01/13/14 at 02:39 PM

how can anyone expect such tragic circumstances as were heaped upon Native Americans not to persist and reverberate with ill and irreconcilable affects into the present and future generations? thank you for sharing.

Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 01/13/14 at 02:53 PM

Unfortunately the past certainly has created serious problems for the present in case of Native Americans. There are strides being made but never enough can be done I fear. Your poem an earnest plea for understanding I believe.

Posted by George Hoerner on 01/13/14 at 03:47 PM

And now I am beginning to be asked "What was it like in the olden days, before they had TV, and cell phones. We all age and become the encyclopedias of the present. Nice write.

Posted by Elizabeth Shaw on 01/14/14 at 06:57 PM

Your depth of feeling dotted with figures and circled by family is wounding to the eye in the most beautiful sense - thank you Adele

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