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"Alone" Chapter 10

Updated on April 30, 2012
© Quill Collection
© Quill Collection


Here we are again at the Fireside and I do hope you are comfy. I have a small fire tonight as it has been a cold day and the winds are howling outside. They are even calling for a snow/rain mix for tonight then we start back on the way to warmer next week.

Again we are going to spend a little more time with Iskwiw and her journey home. Thank you to all who have left comments throughout this story and the personal emails you have sent. They have all touched me.

If there is anything to take away from these Fireside chats I would ask that you take love and understand that you are loved. Here and away from here. Please do rest awhile and help yourself. My home is yours...

© Quill Collection
© Quill Collection

“The Journey Home”

We arrived just as they were calling our boarding time. Iskwiw was reluctant to let the girls search the bag she carried with her old clothing in it. I was able to convince her they were simply going to look and return it. It was interesting to watch her as her clothes passed through the airport scanner. She was sure that something had been taken. She grabbed the bag and placed it under her arm, shuffling off in the wrong direction. It took a minute to catch up with her and get her turned around.

What had I gotten myself into with this airport renegade? They were calling for preloading and it was the same crew that had flown us down. The one Native girl happened to notice Iskwiw and they spoke in Cree.

The young stewardess made it a point to notice the new dress; Iskwiw blushed. The girl pointed at me and Iskwiw said something in Cree and they both laughed. I felt I was a brunt of some private joke. Later, in the air, I learned what the joke was. The stewardess had addressed me as the new husband. My shock must have been apparent because Iskwiw broke out in uncontrollable laughter.


The flight was direct to Whitehorse, and then we had to transfer to a small aircraft to get into Old Crow. Iskwiw sat quietly. As she looked out the window, I understood her unspoken prayers.

Later in the flight she took all the materials from the seatback and stuffed them into her bag. She considered them free. I smiled as she smoothed her dress out and gently took my hand in thanks for the gifts she wore.

Iskwiw was silent for several moments, and then started to tell me the story of her life. I sat and listened to a tale of the terror she had been through as a child. When she was nine the Church had taken her from her family to give her an education. She said it was really meant to take the Indian out of the children.

Seven children in her community had been removed and taken to a school in the south. Within a week Iskwiw had been raped three times by a clergyman: the head master at the school. She later learned the same fate had befallen the other children over that summer. She suffered greatly from the ordeal. As she shared, it opened old memories and she began to cry.

She had to go on a journey of forgiveness to get to the place of peace she found herself in that day. There had been story after story recently in the news about children just like her. The Government had allowed it to happen, trusting the Church to be responsible, yet the abuse had taken place in many isolated communities. The Church held the problem at arm’s length; often the perpetrators were simply transferred to other churches and never dealt with.

It caused a ripple effect that continued when the abused became the abusers and alcoholics. Bitterness and anger ran deep in the Native community. There was little satisfaction in eventually revealing the truth when a few cases were proven without doubt. The Church had denied everything at the beginning and it was far too late to have any significant consequences for the victims.

The only satisfaction people like Iskwiw had were that the truth had finally been told. The only healing they had been in Christ. Iskwiw shared her faith with all she came in contact with. She had been instrumental in much healing and sharing within her community. She felt it her calling to be a role model and she had been at the helm of many inquiries.

I learned she had taken a stand against the lies that were perpetrated. Later I found out she had secretly documented the dates and the times of all the offenses against her. Those scribbling’s of a child would later become the key in the trial and incarceration of the Clergy who repeatedly raped her and many others.

As the plane started its decent into Whitehorse, Iskwiw and I sat looking at the familiar terrain below us. I was able to make out Teslin Lake, one of the Yukon's largest.

I thought of the many times I had sought the far reaches of this lake. A body of water that size was to be respected. I had many fish stories to tell of my adventures there, but at the moment I had a wounded and special woman who had shared the pain of her past with me. I felt it was my calling simply to be with her as she completed the last leg of her journey home.

© Quill Collection
© Quill Collection

Work Horse of the North

Great aircraft and one which would take Iskwiw and I the final leg back to her home.

Hank Karr


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    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 6 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Morning Pam... she did and she walked it with such grace and understanding of just who she was. It was comical that day after she had been through security. Her biggest fear and anger arose that someone had actually seen her personals. Even though I explained it to her she remained embarrassed... she was such a blast to watch when she was angry.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      Another excellent chapter. I liked the airports story as it was humorous. Iskwiw sure had an awful life, yet she walked the path of forgiveness. God Bless.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 6 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Jackie... Thank you for your insightful comment and yes it has been happening for many years. I think the big difference today is people are willing to stand up and speak out like you are doing. In years past it was common to just sweep the mistakes under the carpet yet we have all seen and been witness to the years of pain and suffering that has brought about. We can look at many different churches, sports arenas, club and groups and it happens all over. Like you I struggle with the fact certain people are allowed to continue on as though they are above the law.

      By allowing your voice to be heard like Iskwiw we can make a difference... please keep speaking out...

      Hugs from Canada

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This was so awful and strange I was just speaking of our Catholic churches here, how the priests have raped women and little boys and the church just sends them to new places not even warning anyone and our law knows this and yet they go free, it makes no sense. I am sure it happens in other religions too but it seems the Catholics have a free pass and I can't help but wonder why and of course I am not suggesting it was so in your story but still I wonder why no one wanted to do anything to make it right? But Judgement Day will find them, they will not escape that.

      Thanks for sharing that.

      God Bless

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 6 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Gypsy... Thanks for the visit and the wonderful comment. I have thought a few times about telling her story in detail including excerpts from her transcripts but the family has said they would rather not. I certainly can respect them for that as they would rather leave Iskwiw remembered as she was. Maybe in the future sometime.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and awesome. You are a great teller of true stories. Glad Iskwiw could confide in you and that justice was served. You know the incredible story of this woman could make one inspirational book - a real tribute to her. But I know she thinks it's enough that you even share her story with others.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 6 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Always... great to hear she has found a place i your heart. She had that same trait when she was alive... good too see she is still at work.

      Hugs from Canada

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This was a wonderful story, full of pain and laughter. I could invision Iskwiw. You brought her into my heart. Thank you for another chapter in your journey...

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 6 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Good morning iamaudraleigh and thank you for the comment... very gracious of you. Iskwiw did suffer at the hands of man in so many ways as many of the Natives of the day did. She was such an avocate for the injustice I later learned. I once read and article that was transcribed at a hearing of her speaking and she stood in defiance over some comment that had been made. She was a real trooper... much to be learned from her.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 6 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Morning Jama... it was neat to see that side of her as well... some stranger going through her personals and all. She was so upset and did not understand why and sat and refused to listen to any reasoning. She was such a hoot to be around.

      Thanks for the comment and I joined you in laughter at the though of her departing ion the first direction she found.

      Hugs from Canada

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 6 years ago

      Iskwiw must have been a very special woman. She shared her past and had trust in you. Her experiences were so horrible...made me want to cry.

      You are such a gifted writer who was able to draw us in enabling us to be with you in the story.

      You are a gifted writer!

      Voted up!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Rolly, this one made me laugh! Iskwiw taking off in the airport and making you catch her, and how she made you the butt of a joke with the stewardess. Wise and funny, too. Thank you for sharing her with us! ;D


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