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Gathering the 215

Updated: Jun 9, 2021

The following is a reflection given on June 3rd by Rosella Kinoshameg, DOS, at a memorial service for the 215 Indigenous children. Rosella is a member of the Diocesan Order of Service, a nurse for over 50 years, and a CGS Level 1 catechist. She is a leader in her Anishinaabe Catholic community on Manitoulin Island where she resides in the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory.


Wherever Jesus went, crowds of people always followed him. When Jesus spoke to the people, when he was teaching the people, he always used parables. Just like us, we often use storytelling. That was his method of teaching and he told them: The reason I speak to them in parables is that “seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.” So, Jesus put forth parables and this evening I am going to tell you two short parables that Jesus told the people.

“The kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
Ogimaawiwin gijigong ijinagwad tibishko zyaagchigaadeg e-ki-jigadeg gtigaaning, awiia gimikaan minawaa niaap gikidon; gi bapinendaam, kina gego aiang gi odawe wii giishpinadod gkitigaan.” Matthew 13:44

He put forth another parable:


“The kingdom of God is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it." “Ogimaawiwin gijigong ijinagwad tibishko adawewinini nandaandawaabandang bejig gwanaajiwang miigis e-gichi apitendaagwag, kina gego aiang gi odawe wii giishpinadod.” Matthew 13:45

A baby is a gift--Miinigoweziwin--from the Creator, a child of God, each one sacred, special, precious, to be treated with respect. Each one is born with a spirit, a sacred name, with gifts or talents, born into a clan, and comes with a purpose to learn or teach something. A baby needs love, respect, and sense of belonging.

The remains of 215 children whose lives were cut short, have been discovered buried in the ground, in unmarked graves, forever to have been hidden, never again to have been seen by their parents, separated from them and their culture, now “unearthed.” These children are talking and teaching us answers which lie in our cultural teachings and spirituality. We mourn with incredible sadness with our Kamloops families and we stand in solidarity with them.

In the letter of Paul to the Ephesians 5:12-14, it is written: “For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light.”

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” (Matthew 19:14)

God came and gathered his jewels, all his treasures of diamonds and gold that were hidden but now brought to light.

-Rosella Kinoshameg

Photo by Luise and Nic on Unsplash

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