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Personal Reactions to the
Journey For Forgiveness

Many 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.

Marion Williams

Survivor Speaks of Resolution of Journey For Forgiveness

I am honored to tell you my experience in going through what happened at the Journey For Forgiveness five mile walk - what this meant to me as a survivor of someone that was in a boarding school at a Native American.

That would be two of my known ancestors, my grandfather Thomas C. Chamberlain Sr., and my aunt Mary Jane Meteye. Both of these people were pretty close to me. I heard some things from them about being a student at the Indian boarding school.

What they told me were pretty damaging to a person where humanity is concerned, but they also lived pretty full and productive lives.

I do know that each of them had a retirement pension and lived pretty good for what it is worth. They leaned upon the Creator. My grandfather always prayed diligently and also quite lengthy every night before he fell asleep. Sometimes his praying would be so long. My aunt, a very devoted Catholic, yet always voicing her concerns of Christianity, received three business degrees and was very successful.

Anyhow, the walk kept me thinking and remembering everything I could about what they must had went through.

Once we finished the five miles, my thinking shifted very much so. People were telling me many different experiences of what was really going on at the boarding school presently. They could hear voices screaming and crying and even singing. There was one point while walking around the buildings I could hear as if someone was jumping on the steal staircase.

I feel that just because the government apologized, we still need to have a ceremony to give our angel spirits a peace, knowing that we need their help revitalizing our language and culture.

After thinking a lot about the whole day, the next day I prayed for some kind of closure, and the Creator told me to ask for His help by sending us angels to assist our requests. My prayers were answered and I believe that it will not take a whole generation to get back what we lost, because the Lord's angels are going to help us regain what we lost in a fairly quick fashion!

Keep repeating the words you hear and they will eventually stick. This is in your blood so always remember that!

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