candy dance

Posted: December 2, 2020 in stella shepard
Tags: , , , ,

Candy can be a reward and a curse for Indigenous children.

At a Pow Wow, there is a Candy Dance. 

Children dressed in regalia dance in a sacred circle to the beat of the drums, the heartbeat of Mother Earth. 

At the end of the dance, candies are flung into the circle for the children to gather.

I have been witness to this dance many times.

One year, the Pow Wow MC announced there would be no throwing candies for the children to collect at the end of the Candy Dance. 

Elders, survivors of residential schools, watching were re-traumatized.

The MC said that an Elder had approached him after a Dance.

The elder explained that their captors threw candies to lure indigenous children.

The children were snatched and captured. 

The residential schools gobbled up the children like a hungry wolf.

The black brick monster spit out their broken spirit, those who survived years of abuses and torture.

Many didn’t survive.

An Eagle is sacred to the Indigenous Peoples.

It climbs higher to the Creator than any living creature.

An Eagle circled and soared above the Pow Wow.

The sacred Eagle collected the trauma of the residential school survivors.

It soared higher and higher.

It disappeared out of sight. 

The story of the Candy Dance is locked in the marrow of my bones. 

The healing continues.

Stella Shepard’s work appears in anthologies, newspapers and magazines. Her novel, Ashes of My Dreams (Acorn Press, 2016), is a thinly disguised fiction of her own life, giving voice to unwed mothers who were once silenced and shamed, and has been used by the University of Prince Edward Island in an adult development course. She is a member of the Native Council of Prince Edward Island where she lives on an organic farm.

 

♦♦♦

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