Remembrance Day Event Debuts Honor Song for Every Child Matters Composed by William Collins

By Ardith Van Riper

     On Sept. 30, a Remembrance Day Event took place at the site of the Tomah Indian Industrial School that honors all Indian students who attended Indian Boarding Schools.

     Adrienne Thunder provided a welcoming statement and the Little Thunder drum group rendered a welcome song.  Ruth Decorah offered a prayer.

     Then Adrienne introduced the keynote speaker, Sandra White Hawk (Sicangu Lakota Nation).  Sandra is the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition Board of Directors President, Founder and Director of First Nations Repatriation Institute. 

     White Hawk shared her story of being separated from her family and the journey to find her way back.  Her story is rooted in the boarding school experience.  Sandra White Hawk also spoke about resilience and strength found in Native communities in our ceremonies, prayers, languages, songs, and dance.  She acknowledged those whose knowledge and experiences help us learn to carry on these ways.

     Adrienne Thunder then announced she approached and offered tobacco to William Collins, requesting he compose a song.

     William Collins explained his creation process of the honor song and then said, “The words that I put together are pretty simple.  It says – the children went through a difficult time and they said that Every Child Matters.  One of the first thoughts I had when I first started doing this was a thing that I saw that had said – a tiny voice cried out ‘they found us.’  So, I put in there – ‘Kora or wow, they said they found you!’

     After Collins spoke, the Little Thunder drum debuted the honor song.  In English, the words to the song are, “The children went through a difficult time.  They said the children are important (Every Child Matters).  Wow, they said they found you!”

     Falls Florist provided the orange roses. Eliza Decorah, Barbara Kmetz, Stormy Perry, Jean Stacy, and Angela Ward helped provide the meal.

     The event concluded with a traveling song, flower laying at the memorial marker, and an invitation to eat a meal at the Blue Wing Community Building.