Living Healing Quilt Project
Promoting Healing – One Stitch at a Time

This post is part of the Living Healing Quilt Project that honours the strength, courage, and commitment of Indian Residential School Survivors. This quilt block is from Quilt 2 – Crimes Against Humanity.

I saw this ad and right away I thought of an idea for the block and why I chose the design. I’ve been reading and I also know of relatives and community members who went to residential school. I felt bad hearing of a person dying and knowing they would never hear the apology or get their compensation for going to residential school. We knew the apology was coming, but we did not know at the time in what context it would be. If the apology would indeed be a good one, that the survivors and myself would accept it. I felt very much connected to what happened because it was so close to home. It came out that we were very effected because we are the same and connected to one another.

The background is black. The color black represents, bleak, dark, painful, loneliness, trauma and the ugliness of the whole episode of residential school.

I thought of that child who went through that time in their period where they were ripped away from their families and other loved ones. Their home and the environment in which they felt safe and secure and it was gone, taken away. It was like a black hole, where they to had to hold on to their feelings and pretend it did not matter and hide the hurt it contained. They learned in how to cope, using skills that are not very good, but needed those skills because that was the only way you were to survived for a long time to come.

The Thunderbird, a bird that symbolizes strength and power. I chose the thunderbird because it has come to me in my dreams many times, when life was needed to carry me. I thought of the Thunderbird in how they work, in how they would stir up the wind and strike out. Place whatever destruction was there for whatever had to be faced. There was no going back, it had to be addressed no matter what the outcome. For instance, the people started coming out with the effects and what took place in those residential schools across the nation. The good and the bad, it was placed out there, where it had to be addressed and taken care of because the world was watching and there was no turning back.

The Strawberry, it represented how sweet, pure and the shape of heart and its cleansing properties. This is a very powerful fruit. It represented in how we felt the effects of residential schools. Residential school wounded our hearts and we’ve held onto the pain and now we can throw it out to wind. We are cleansing ourselves and future generations to come due to the effects of residential. We are on the path of being cleanse.

The Sun, now here is planet that is strong, bold, and how it brightens our day when it comes out. We feel different when the sun is out and we look forward to the sun to rise each morning. The sun provided the concept of energy, power, brightness and HOPE. The apology was about to come and it did happen. What a glorious day it was for us and the world. The relief of the apology and now the road we have to follow for our personal development and future generations. To let go of the bad things, like the effects of residential school. As the saying goes “There is light at the end of the tunnel”.


Joanne Debassige, M’Chigeeng, Ontario

2 thoughts on “Joanne Debassige, M’Chigeeng, Ontario

  • December 11, 2008 at 6:58 am

    Quilting can be a great hobby to warm others with your talents. Perhaps the best part about this hobby is that there are no real rules to quilting patterns.


  • December 11, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    I gave you a creative blogger award on my site go see. Hugs.

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