First Voice

Yenmo Ceetza, Isadore Charters on residential schools and healing art

Yenmo Ceetza started using art as an outlet when he was a young boy. Back then his art was very dark, expressing his pain and anger. In 2011, he began carving a healing pole. He wanted this work to be more inclusive so he has taken it around his community to schools and churches in the Lower Mainland where he encouraged people to participate in the carving of this 7-foot cedar pole.  “When I carve on this pole, I let go of my anger and my hurt. The new me comes out because I know that people are trying to help and not just trying to forget.” The pole was on display for a short time at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Vancouver but it will permanently reside at the site of his old residential school in Kamloops.

Yenmo Ceetza and Mennonite Expression of Reconciliation at TRC.