Share This:

Personal Reactions to the
Journey For Forgiveness

Many, including this author, followed the Journey to its completion in Washington DC Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian, shown in the slideshow above. Photos by Joseph Sowmick, courtesy of the Tribal Observer.

Hunter Genia

Reflections on the Journey……

In March of 2009, a simple email and phone call from White Bison turned into an event that was long overdue and sorely needed. The Journey for Forgiveness, a movement initiated by White Bison through the direction of their council of elders, was a journey that began on the west coast in May, traveling and stopping at boarding schools along the way to the journey's end in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian on June 24th. Our event was held on June 17th near the end of the journey. The purpose of the Journey for Forgiveness was to acknowledge an invisible chapter in our American history of the Government funded Indian Boarding School era and its impact on Native American communities, families, and individuals.

Locally, amazing people came together here in Isabella County perhaps like no other time in our history to rally around the Journey for Forgiveness movement. What impact that this event had on our community remains to be seen but what I do know is that it has generated a lot of discussion from all walks of life in Isabella County. Emails, phone calls, written and electronic correspondence continues to arrive regarding the journey event here locally and it has sparked ideas on how do we proceed from here. Locally, our work is not done and perhaps has given our tribal and non-tribal community a spark to continue the momentum forward in ways that will be seen and unseen. Perhaps individuals, officials, and leadership will take further steps in their personal lives and or professional lives to do better for all humankind in an effort to create a better society. That is the hope and dream that I have and underneath that, the sky is the limit in my thinking on how that can be accomplished. Already, new ideas and projects are under way with people locally and nationally to keep the momentum pushing forward.

I know for me personally, I will continue to fight the fight in an effort to create better relationships with all that are part of the human race and circle. There is much to do here in Indian country and particularly here at the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and am grateful to be in a position where I can help influence positive change in people's lives personally and professionally. Just like the journey is promoting forgiveness of the unforgiveable, we must do that for ourselves, families, and for our community. As Anishinabek, giving of ourselves is a fundamental value that is promoted in almost everything we do whether it is for ourselves, children, family, work, tribe and society.

To the over 400 walkers and 600 participants that participated with us on June 17th, 2009, to the 21 representatives that traveled to Washington, DC on June 23 and June 24, to the courage that the representatives of the city, county, and township displayed in uniting behind this cause and to our tribal leadership that said, "we support this idea and make it happen."

I say Kchi-Migwech and may the Creator allow us to always come together in the spirit of harmony, love, and respect.

This story appears in the July 2009 edition of the Tribal Observer and is printed here with its permission. The views expressed here are those solely of the author and do not represent the official views of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.