news&views Autumn 2021 | Page 62

Mothers Matter

Mary Shearer , May 2021
An Indigenous Mother grieves . I have asked , “ Where is my daughter ?” Many times over the years But received no answers or proof .
Over time I have accepted that she is dead .
But what was the cause ? Was she : Lost escaping to find home , Ravaged by TB , Malnourished and overworked , Or severely beaten ?
Now , years later My scab is torn away . It is red and oozing . I am so so angry . But again I must wait .
A White Settler Mother cries . It ’ s not my child But what if it was ? I can ’ t even find the words .
I need to rest for a while .
Gradually I am touched By the respectfulness of the media and The spontaneity of many people To show support and sympathy .
I search for what I can do . First , I will learn more . Then my focus will be On helping Indigenous Mothers to heal .
Ojibway-Métis artist , Cecil Youngfox ( 1942 – 1987 ), created many images of motherhood . This image is an excerpt from his painting “ Joyous Motherhood ” and is used with permission , courtesy of Oscardo .
In 1972 , Mary Shearer and her husband were part of the ’ 60s Scoop as adoptive parents , when many Indigenous children were put up for adoption . The Shearers adopted two Métis brothers aged 20 months and 30 months . As Mary explains , “ The reasoning was that their parents would not do a good job of raising them . A nice white family was a much better choice . This was a simple yes / no decision made by a judge . No help was offered to the Indigenous parents , and no information was given to the adoptive parents . It wasn ’ t until 1990 that we discovered that our sons were third-generation residential school survivors . Recent events have been painful for my sons and our family .”
After a career with Edmonton Public Schools , Mary and her husband retired to Canmore .
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