How can you say you’re sorry,
how can you tell your story
of where we’re been do you think it’s a sin
to be who we are?
That is the first few lines of a song written about the importance of reconciliation.
The lines were written by Alvin Epp, an author and life coach. He was influenced by the Truth and Reconciliation commission, which brought forth many stories and history not known to people across Canada about the crimes committed against indigenous people in residential schools.
It started with a melody stuck in his head for days. After navigating through the composition, those words cemented themselves in his head and he knew that this song had purpose. He then called for the help of Clifton Fred.
Fred attended residential school. The writing process was therapeutic for him and allowed him to tap into emotions and thoughts that he had suppressed for years. Once he sat down to complete the rest of the lyrics of the song it only took him an hour. The words flew through him and he finally was able to channel years of emotion and mull through things that he has carried with him his entire life.
“It helped me emerge above the difficulties I had,” said Fred. “I had no respect for authority my entire life because I reported things and nothing was done so I never trusted anybody, and it showed in my life and in my history. Doing this project has helped me move forward.”
Then they called on the help of Metis singer and DJ Morgan Lily to sing the powerful song.
“It was really important was this song needed to be sung by a young aboriginal woman that could carry the message and could carry the strength of the message,” said Epp. “It’s reflected the generation that is now moving things forward.”
The video is a montage of images. These images range from beautiful landscapes, to past and present prime ministers, class pictures of residential schools, grieving parents and children, and photos of indigenous people across the country smiling and enjoying their rich heritage.
“We want to teach all children about all cultures,” said Fred. “We want to bring attention to the school curriculum and the changes that are needed there, so that it will teach children at a young age about each other in some way that interests them so we don’t end up raising children that are racist.”
This song was written to inspire people to be themselves. Stand for themselves, and be proud of who they are and where they come from. They hope the song inspires people to work together and set aside their differences, but more importantly they hope the song and the truth and reconciliation inspire people to teach their children differently to avoid any type of discrimination in the future.