Since a large portion of the Sunrise Ceremony involves
activities that should not be photographed or video recorded,
we offer here a condensed version of that event, hopefully
capturing the flavor of the event as well as the number
of people in attendance. However, in one portion, Pipe Carrier
George Martin offers
a teaching on how semaa (tobacco) is used in the all-important
pipe ceremony, which teaching was left in this video.
This video clip (which runs around 10 minutes) also shows
the beginning of the walk, from the Tribal Operations
building all the way to the center of Mt. Pleasant. Play
Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Chief Fred Cantu
Jr. shares his
thoughts at the Tribal Operations Gymnasium during
the Sunrise Ceremony. Play
Isabella County Building:
Hunter Genia, with the Tribe's Behavioral Health
program, was a key local planner for
this event - and master of ceremonies
at the County Building stop along the
walk. Watch his opening remarks. Play
Mt. Pleasant was represented by it's top elective official in Mayor
James Holton who was the first local government dignitary to speak
before the crowd gathered on the county building's lawn. Play
Isabella County Commissioner David Ling opened with
some humor, but duly acknowledged the seriousness
of the years in which the boarding schools operated
and their terrible actions for which responsible
governments should apologize. Play
A large portion of the Isabella Reservation as well as the site of the
Indian Industrial Boarding School resides within
what is today the Charter Township of Union. Supervisor John
Union Township's top official spoke on behalf
of township membership. Play
James Moreno currently sits on the Isabella County
Commission, but also belongs to the Mount Pleasant
Area Diversity Group, for whom he spoke. Play
Sean Novak represents the Isabella County Human Rights
Committee of which he is a member since last
September. Mr. Novak also is vice-chair of the
Mt. Pleasant Area Diversity Group and assistant
director of Minority Student Services at nearby
Central Michigan University. Novak spoke with
a great deal of passion.
Hunter Genia commented about the affects of abuse (his
area of professional expertise) before the Anishinabekwe
Singers concluded the County Building stop along
the walk. Play
The final offering at the County Building stop was a performance by Anishinabekwe
Singers. Here is one of their songs. Play
Journey For For-giveness:
Mt. Pleasant Indian
Industrial Boarding School
View a photo gallery of the final stop in Washington D.C.
July 1: Read the thoughts of some who participated in the Journey...
The group pictured at left is leaving to participate in the Journey
For Forgiveness event scheduled to take place in Washington DC
- a next phase in the nation-wide observance.
General Information on Mt. Pleasant/Isabella Reservation Event (June
In conjunction with the 2009 Wellbriety Journey for Forgiveness, White
and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan presented a
day-long observance and forum to address the U.S. imposed Indian
Boarding School era and the ensuing effects of historical trauma
The day began with a Sunrise Ceremony at the Saginaw Chippewa
Tribal Operations Building (7070 E. Broadway) at 7am, followed
by a Three Fires Confederacy 5-Mile Forgiveness Walk to the Mt.
Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School. The program continued
on the grounds of the boarding school site with guest speakers,
panel discussions, a 100 Drums honor song and Jingle Dress Healing
The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan was pleased to present
the Healing the Circle Concert with Kevin
Chamberlain and special guests, ULALI at
9 pm on the outdoor soundstage in Seventh Generation's Woods,
located on the corner of Remus and Shepherd Roads.
Jingle Dress Healing Dance
The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe's Planning Committee extended
semaa (sacred tobacco) to sisters Maia, Melissa & Iliana
Montoya to coordinate a Jingle Dress Healing Dance. The dance
took place on the grounds of the Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial
Boarding School near the close of the day on June 17th.
In keeping with the spiritually beautiful gifts of healing that were bestowed upon the Anishinabe, this powerful and moving dance ceremony will bring spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual restoration to those in need.
The planning committee is thankful for these sisters for making
provisions for this ceremony. The committee also wishes to say miigwetch to
all of the ladies participating in this special dance, for they
will be healing and strengthening the people.
View our gallery of images from Isabella County Courthouse:
The sequence at left starts with Chief Fred Cantu Jr. speaking to those
attending the Sunrise Ceremony at the Tribal Operations gymnasium
and the sequence follows their walk the County Courthouse
at the center of Mt. Pleasant. Around 200 or more people
walked in the Journey. They gathered at the courthouse to hear tribal,
city and county government representatives show their respect
for those who suffered so badly from the boarding school
experience, and it's heavy impact on Native culture.
For an overview of life in the Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial School and
it's many impacts, visit
Central Michigan University's Clark Historical Library online. Many resources can also be accessed
from this page.
Petition Requesting Apology for Abuses at US Indian Schools
This petition calls upon the President of the United States to issue a formal apology for what the US government allowed to happen to Native American children at the schools and for the effects it continues to have on Native American individuals, families, and communities to this day.
Support this historic journey and Native American healing by signing our petition today.
Click here for detailed information(.pdf)
Walk's End - Journey's Beginning:
From County Building to Boarding School Site
Hunter Genia offers thoughts on the conclusion of the meeting at the County
Building with area government representatives and then urges
all to complete the day's walk to the site of the Indian
Industrial School. This video takes you from those concluding
comments through the final leg of the walk and blessings
to those assembled upon arrival. Play
All video and photographs produced by SCITMedia (Saginaw Chippewa
Information Technology Multimedia Development) with the exeption of the archival main image, of the boarding school and children, and the map next to the petition appeal.