Why would I design two maple leaf barn quilts? This blog is about the reasons I made this particular maple leaf. It's multi colors represent ALL peoples of Canada and our increasing awareness of inclusion.
Let me tell you a little about myself. Tolerance has always been a value that shaped me as a young girl and guided me to my chosen career as an educator. It also influenced me to be a strong seeker of Spirit, God, my Higher Power.
I grew up in small town Saskatchewan. It was the early 60’s. Another time. Another world. This town of 2,000 people had three churches: Roman Catholic, Ukranian Catholic, and Greek Orthodox. Most families were immigrants from Germany or from the Ukraine. Our family was not any of these but from British origins. My first grade teacher was a nun complete with habit like in movie The Sister Act. She told me I could not choose a religious bookmark when I won a game of bingo because I was a heathen! I was shocked and shamed and confused because I had never heard that word before but knew it was something awful! During religion classes the few other Protestant children were removed from the class to the library.
My family moved to the next city when I was 10 and there I discovered that my religion and background was actually the majority! But my desire for inclusion had been lit because I knew how it felt in my heart and stomach to be named and shamed. The high school I chose was a mix of city, country, and residential school teens. I loved that we all were together playing on sports teams, SRC, and the arts program.
Fast forward to high school graduation and I was applying to the College of Education. I had to choose a major for my secondary teacher training so it was the social sciences… because I was going to change the world to bring harmony and spread peace among youth. My ego wanted me to be a hero to bring this vision into reality. I knew the heart of our people could be changed by working with youth and that Saskatchewan would be more tolerant. Well, you know at 22 I was very very idealistic. And Egotisitc. Actually I am still accused of that malady.
I know our country has a terrible record of racism against immigrants like the Chinese, Ukranian, German, Blacks, LGBT community, and especially the First Nations. The Colton Boushie case has become the touchstone for world wide attention to our present tensions in Saskatchewan. I know there is much much more to be done to reconcile and include everyone with fairness, kindness, and justice. Yet, examples of community and school action gives me a glimmer of hope to improve awareness and consciousness of the double standards. I contributed what I could as a history teacher and then as a counsellor. With this diversity maple leaf, I am making another meagre contribution to this ideal of tolerance.
REMEMBER. A QUILT MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER. BRENDA