Dear Spinning Circle,
Thank you for joining us in another episode of Wool n’ Spinning Radio.
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I welcome onto the show today, Ahn Wilson, who is two spirit Atikamekw and French on her mother’s side and German on her father’s side. Ahn is the visionary behind a very ambitious project, The Loving Blanket Project, to commemorate and share the collective weight of grief that all people experience as more and more graves are unearthed at the residential schools throughout Canada. In Ahn’s words,
When the first 215 were returned home, I felt the collective weight of grief through the nations. In my grief I shaved my head. No amount of time on the water (my medicine) would soothe it. More keep being found and it’s been hard being alone. I’ve been trying to find a way to hold and collectively share in this grief in a meaningful way. Covid has made it hard for folx to gather in Ceremony. Or hold one another. Thus, after many months of thinking, by way of dream, came to me the idea to make a blanket. A very large blanket. One square to represent each child. One person to make one square. ‘You may cut my hair, but the medicint is in the roots” (song by Digging Roots). We are the roots. We are the medicine. By each person stitching a square, we stitch outselves together in strength. We metamorpically hold one another and share the weight of collective grief.
Have a listen to our converation and I hope you feel pulled to make a square, mailing it off to Ahn when you are done. You can send you work here:
C/O Ahn Wilson
PO Box 936
Nelson PO Main, BC
Canada V1L 5P9
There are some things you need to know when you go to make your blanket – I have uploaded two PDFs that I have scanned from Ahn. Please download these before you start and read them through. There is increbibly important information in both of them, including problematic wording or imagery that would be important to leave OUT of the squares, alongside WELCOMING imagery and powerful words that one can place in your square(s).
It might be helpful to make a square that you might dedicate to an individual child, group of children and place they lived. Think about how resilient those children are, what it might look like to welcome them home in celebration and warmth, and how you would wrap them in a blanket, feed them and love them. This might help you to get started. Gather your family, friends or maybe just yourself! ‘[Create] your square [to] have a connection to it; keep in mind your heritage and culture … these squares are meant to bring a sense of joy with them, an energy of warmth and welcoming’ (Ahn Wilson). Think about Ahn’s comments from the episode about a party!
Please leave your comments below so that I can help to clarify anything – if I’m not sure, I will reach out to Ahn.
As always, thank you for listening and spending the time in this place. It was a pleasure to welcome Ahn onto the show.
Until next time,