One year ago I began my drawing of the 546 leaves I had collected that day from the Pacific Spirit Park after learning about the children who had been so cruelly separated from their parents at the US border. In the following few weeks we learnt, as my daily drawings continued, how many more separated children there were. Sadly, as of today too many of these children have yet to be reunited with their parents.
In May of this year the remains of 215 children were discovered in unmarked graves in the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Reservation School, children who were never given any opportunity of being reunited with their parents and families. And so began the discovery of generations of children buried in unmarked graves of Indian Reservation Schools across the country in this sad chapter of Canadian history, a chapter that continues today through the vital and heartbreaking process of Truth and Reconciliation.
My 215 leaves today are in memory of all the beautiful children who are being grieved and remembered by their families and communities everywhere. They were very much in our thoughts yesterday as we walked in the Pacific Spirit Park on a rainy Friday with so many beautiful fallen leaves carpeting the trails and woods around us.