215 Souls Remembered With Moccasins On Display
Written by Jeremy Zafran on 14 October 2021
Even though the shoes representing the 215 souls discovered at the former Residential school in Kamloops, BC have been released and removed from in front of the St Francis Xavier Mission Church in Kahnawake, there are still plenty of shoes on display in the community. Jessica Hernandez, says the news of the bodies being discovered back in May hit her like a ton of bricks:
“I was kind of really taken aback, I had like this really heavy wait on my shoulders and I really felt like I was going to cry at any moment. And I wasn’t personally affected that I knew of residential schools, but for some reason I couldn’t shake the weight on me. And so, what I usually do when I’m feeling that way is I kind of go to beading.”
But instead of turning inwards with her pain, Hernandez decided to get others in the community involved and use her energy in a positive way:
“I’m not the only one who is feeling this way. So, I kind of put a call out for people to make moccasins because as I’m thinking about it, these kids, they never made it home and part of the culture that was taken from them, is you know, that when you pass away, usually you’re wear your traditional clothing, you’ll have a ceremony. I’m like, these kids never had those things, so let’s make them moccasins.”
It exploded from there, Hernandez says she now has approximately 125 pairs of beaded moccasins which are being displayed at her store Nicia’s Accessories.