Today, Thursday, September 30, 2021, is the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. Today, and ongoing, we as people who live on this land we call Canada–known for centuries as Turtle Island to First Peoples–have much to listen to, and to learn. Some of these truths are hard to swallow. But swallow them we must.
As a singer, an artist, I am a storyteller, a truth teller. Singers need to parse the meanings of the texts they sing, and sing them from their heart; only when we do this can we sing our best, be our fullest selves. It seems only natural to me that I would then honour the truth in others, and learn better how to listen and truly hear. I am grateful for the Indigenous creators, performers, storytellers and song keepers in my midst, who help me, through their art and music, to hear their stories more deeply. Some of the stories are sung, some are spoken, some are without words, using just sounds and images. Some are all of the above.
I am choosing today to amplify the voices of four Indigenous musicians who graced our virtual stage at Laurier today, in honour of Orange Shirt Day. It was also a fundraising concert, raising funds for Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, which, in addition to their other mandates, is restoring the former Mohawk Institute Residential School to become an interpretive centre, illuminating the legacy of the residential schools and helping us all to better understand.
Please consider donating to this important cause, and to informing yourselves about Indigenous history and culture. We can and will do better. Thanks for listening.