"There was a lot of time to think during the White Bison's Wellbriety Journey to Forgiveness, the five-mile walk held at Mt. Pleasant on June 17. The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan Indians should be proud to have hosted such a momentous event.
American Indians - and some non-Indians - from all directions of Michigan came to Mt. Pleasant to walk side by side to support the ideal of forgiveness to the non-Indians who encamped generation after generation of American Indian children in boarding schools. We came from cities, rural areas and reservations to voice support for the call for an official apology from President Obama on behalf of the United States government.
Even though we - some 500 American Indians - had to brave a rainy beginning of the walk, the inconvenience was trivial in comparison to the suffering endured by those generations of American Indians who were forced to attend the boarding schools.
During the walk many musings flooded my mind.
I thought about my deceased grandmother, Ellen Moore Whitepigeon, who was taken from her family on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and placed in an Indian boarding school at Genoa, Nebraska. I thought about the tattoo - which remained until she died at 89 - on her forearm used to identify who she was during her encampment there. I thought about how the Nazis tattooed Jews in concentration camps.
I thought about the sheer agony suffered in the hearts of American Indian parents when someone arrived at their doors to take their children away from the protection of their family's love and culture. I thought about the tragic scars left on the souls of American Indians as the result of their losing their family's protection."
Get the Story:
Levi Rickert: Musings along the Wellbriety Journey to Forgiveness
(The Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun 7/5)
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