Métis Nation Columbia River Society (MNCRS) brought in a moving and inspiring duo last week.
Tom and Madelaine McCallum are a father daughter team touring across Canada in order to tell their story as a means of educating Canadians and encouraging healing within Indigenous communities.
The McCallum’s visit is one of many events organized by MNCRS to bring about an understanding of the true history of Canada with regards to Indigenous Peoples.
Because of the injustices of the past, based on government legislation and policies, this population continues to face high rates of addiction, suicide, homelessness, physical and mental health issues, poverty, and other challenges.
Recognizing their responsibility, the Canadian Government formed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
They set out 94 Calls to Action to be carried out across Canada.
Tom and Madelaine’s presence was one component of MNCRS’s actions towards reconciliation.
The McCallums presented to all students at the elementary schools, where Tom told Creations stories and talked about his growing up years in a Métis village.
Tom is an honoured Knowledge Keeper and Medicine Man from Ille Lacrosse.
Madelaine is an in-demand Powwow and Métis traditional dancer.
She performed and explained her powerful dances for the local students.
During an evening presentation at the Golden Civic Centre, Tom gave an emotional rendition of his childhood, faced with addicted parents, time in a residential school and abandonment by his parents.
He recalled lifechanging spiritual events that led to his healing, sobriety, and subsequent reconnection with his daughter.
Madelaine shared the story of her abandonment as a young child with addicted parents, homelessness, challenges with addiction herself, and her eventual diagnosis and recovery from breast cancer as a young woman.
Madelaine attributes her triumph over cancer to her dedication to dance and traditional methods of healing.
Although Tom has toured around North America and is in demand as a speaker and knowledge keeper, and Madelaine has her own touring schedule, this is their first tour together.
In Golden, they shared their story for the first time, and it was a special honour to be present for such a powerful premiere. Tom’s quavering voice as he read the sorrowful words Madelaine had written as a young teen, truly made the audience feel as if they were present for his discovery of these words.
The presentation was filled with raw emotions which were felt by the audience.
Their obviously authentic healing and reconciliation left the audience with hope and inspiration, as was demonstrated by a father-daughter traditional celebratory dance.