Letter to the Editor: February 26

Good Grief Queen's

Feb. 11, 2016

Good Grief Queen’s

Regarding the article “Aboriginal courses are relevant to students, so make them a priority” (January 8).

There is a way to introduce Aboriginal content that will work across all faculties. A humanities course, a prep course for the real world, a good look at grief course — Good Grief, the Missing Link.

True. Expanding learning about Indigenous peoples is essential for the Canadian education system and Canada. What is needed is that universal element of humanity that is able to unify students, the faculty, the nation. We can connect and engage in meaningful and respectful ways regardless of race, colour, creed and sexual orientation when we examine grief.

The funny thing about grief is that it is the one human condition that we all experience, yet often don’t recognize. The crazy thing about grief is that it is powerful enough to convince us we are crazy when in fact we are not.

Grief is not only about death and dying. Grief is about loss. 

Any loss. Marriage, job, health, home, independence, dignity, spirituality, language. Have you lost anything lately? We Aboriginals have been losers for a very long time, but I can tell you one thing, we have never lost our sense of humor. We may not always share it widely, but for many of us, it has kept us alive. We are healing and getting stronger, but Canada is broken. What could be better than healing together?

Healthy grief is not passive.

My Mohawk mom was born in 1929. She was damaged and numbed for what her life was like in her formidable years, but she built me strong and sent me forward with instruction to think my own thoughts and to walk tall through my years. She taught me about grief — ineffable and deep — the kind of grief that goes to your grave. There is nothing good about that kind of grief.

We all have stories. It is time that we walk together and talk together to close the gap that has for so long divided us.

Let’s learn about grief. Good grief — that missing link that can connect us and lead to not only a greater understanding of Indigenous peoples of Canada, but of all peoples of Canada.

Queen’s University, you could consider introducing Aboriginal content by first examining grief.

Respectfully written by Jan Mishriky, in memory of my mother and in memory of Patricia Monture, a Haudenosaunee woman having received her Honourary Doctorate from Queen’s, her Alma Mater, so many moons ago.

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