Bear Witness Gallery

Bearing witness: Spirit, Era, Cedar and Memengwe
 
Spirit Bear was gifted to the Caring Society by Carrier-Sekani Family Services in 2008 and has attended all of the hearings on the First Nations child welfare case that is currently before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
 
The case began in 2007, when the Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations filed a human rights complaint alleging that the Canadian government’s provision of First Nations child and family services is discriminatory on the basis of race and national ethnic origin contrary to the Canadian Human Rights Act. Spirit Bear has been “bearing” witness to the case by attending the hearings and listening to the experience of children, youth and adults who have also witnessed the hearings first hand. 
 
Era Bear joined the Caring Society in 2013, seven years after the complaint was launched. In many First Nations traditions, seven years marks a new generation, and thus Era Bear joined Spirit Bear to witness the proceedings. 
 
To make sure Spirit Bear and Era Bear looked their best for the closing arguments of the case, Red Cedar Gifts made them regalia which they proudly wear.
 
Throughout the years, Spirit Bear and Era Bear have had the honour of meeting many caring, compassionate people. Spirit Bear took part in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s closing ceremonies and felt excited to see that child welfare was the TRC’s top priority in the Calls to Action.  
 
In April 2016, Spirit and Era reunited with two family members from British Columbia: Cedar Bear, named for her home territory, and Memengwe Bear, which means butterfly in Algonquin, and who was named by young people at Pierre Elliott Trudeau School in Gatineau, Quebec.