Grandmother Pahan Pte San Win – Reflects on the Children Who Died at Indian Residential School.

Grandmother Pahan Pte San Win (“Grey Swan Buffalo Woman”) has been coming to Yasodhara Ashram for many years, most often with her husband, Grandfather Wanbdi Wakita (“Looking Eagle”). Together they have generously offered their love and knowledge from their traditions. Pahan is Lakota, Cree and Metis and Wanbdi is from the Dakota Nation. Both are educators, dedicated to healing and teaching.

Pahan had a vision to start a Sundance for Women dedicated to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and their families. For three of the four year commitment, sundancers from all backgrounds—Indigenous and non-Indigenous— joined together with Pahan in Manitoba for the four days of Sundance, which involves fasting from food and water as they danced and prayed, dedicating their sacrifice to the lost sisters.

From 2017-2019 Pahan’s workshops at the Ashram helped raise funds for the Sundance to support her vision and her leadership as a woman. A deep respect and friendship developed. We received the benefits of hers and Wanbdi’s wonderful ways of bringing people together through ceremony, songs and stories presented with such heart.

In 2020, which should have been the fourth and final year of the Sundance, it was postponed due to the pandemic and so was the annual Ashram visit.

This year we invited Pahan to offer a workshop online, which she very willingly agreed to. Entitled “Walking the Four Directions of Love,” the workshop took place just a month after the graves of 215 children who died at the residential school in Kamloops were found.

Pahan started her workshop by talking about the truth behind these findings. In the video clip, she offers us a window into her experience as an Indigenous woman and as the partner of a residential school survivor.


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