Working for Reconciliation, Justice, and Peace – Our Heart Garden and Rev. Hugh’s Poem

This year, just like the past 6 years, the community at Immanuel, Wetaskiwin has planted its Heart Garden. This garden was started in 2015 as a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is the community’s way of honouring and remembering the children who went to Indian Residential Schools and especially remembering the children who died and did not return home. Just like last year this year’s activity was done by sending out packages to households so that they could make their hearts safely and then bring them to plant in the garden.

Planting the garden with homemade hearts and lovely flowers is even more poignant this year than in previous years. With the news of the discovery of 215 bodies of children, some as young as 3, at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, in unmarked graves people who have made hearts on their own or with their children and grandchildren have found it both sad and hard. There have been reflections that they are devastated about the discovery in Kamloops. They are also aware that this won’t be the last discovery of a hidden graveyard and missing children.

The parish of Immanuel remains committed to working towards reconciliation with Indigenous folks and especially with our neighbours in Maskwacis through all of their community outreach projects.


Submitted by:

Fiona Brownlee

Aboriginal and Rural Churches Liaison

Diocese of Edmonton

Ph:  780-312-9070

The Rev Hugh Matheson, rector of Immanuel Anglican Church in Wetaskiwin, penned a poem in memory of the children whose lives were lost through the residential school system. He recited this poem as part of his sermon on Sunday, June 27.

The Song of the Bow

19 Your glory, O People of the land,
lies buried in the sweet grass fields.

See how the shoes lie empty, 
waiting for those who will come no more.

Their wearers have gone, taken, 
and what remains lies hidden under fields
mowed down by machinery, and civilized by fences.

20 Do not expect those who took the land 
to care too much. 

Do not tell them your sorrow, unless you are prepared to teach them how to grieve, 
for it is not in them.

They got too much for too little, 
and now they are suspicious, 
and eager to let the dead lie silent. 

21 Let the Prairie that bears them
not rush to sprout, 
let it not swiftly catch the seed 

or nourish its growth,
because of its buried burden. 
let the prairie sorrow as well.

22 The children.
They were bright, 
wrapped in orange wings, 
with the promise of morning.

23 The children.
beloved and delight of their families.

Born to be knowledge keepers, 
wisdom bearers, life continuers, 
born to be Eagle, Bison, Bear and Wolf.

They were the covenant 
of a future that was shattered
of a promise that was destroyed.

The children.
The children. 

24 O people of the land, 
weep over the children, who were taken, 
who were loved to death, 
by those who did not know them,
who did not care to learn their names,
by those whose love 
had grown rigid, and narrow

stolen, then
tossed aside as failure, 
hidden in the earth for shame.

Given no names, 
given no mourning song that befits a human being.

25 See how the shoes are lying empty, unfilled,
tiny feet gone,                                           
skipping running, walking, dancing all ended. 

Lives gone unrequited.

Comments are closed.