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The Residential School Legacy

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former member default image - bird flying away


Posted:     Post subject: The Residential School Legacy

My dad was one of the students who were basically forced to attend St. Mary's school, a Roman Catholic residential facility. It was 1950, my dad was just 7 years old and the quiet life he had with his grandparents came to an abrupt end when nuns came to the door, most likely escorted by authority figures, and took him away without incident. Dad wrote in his book that the nuns spoke tactfully with his grandparents, probably assuring them that their grandson would be safe and that they'd see him again soon.

It was separation, from the only home he's known and the simplicity of life. What followed was totally different and against any moral upbringing of his Native home. He was rounded up with scores of other "lost savages", as they might have been called. These were children. Little kids that didn't know what went on in the world, but they were treated like criminals. There was no crime in specific, no justice to be meted out, just the fact that these were children who could be conformed. My feeling is this, that these were children of Native people that the government could not conform. So, they waited. And when the opportune time came, they seized it.

The government worked with the churches across the country to establish schools that would see thousands of unsuspecting Native kids enter their doors. Once processed, bathed, and their hair cut, they were dressed identically. In their new home, the home-sickness must have been terrible. They answered to intimidating priests and unsympathetic nuns. The kids knew very little English and when they were caught speaking their Native tongue, they were either strapped, slapped, or whipped. This was how things were going to be. They had no choice and nowhere to go.

My dad learned well during his time in the school. It was the hard way and it calloused his heart as he became a young man. He saw a lot of things in the school. Bad things that just convinced him that that's how the world is run. He was strapped until he fell to the floor. He spilled a lot of his blood. He cried but no help came. The pieces of s--- that treated him less than human were loving every minute of it. The power and control that they were given enabled them to overlook something. Sin. Yes, they were priests. Yes, they were nuns. But, were they holy? They were holy s---, at best.

After nearly 10 years, my dad escaped from the formidable walls of St. Mary's. He was finally home. He was living his own life now and doing his damnest to make it work. But, what happens when you've been gone for so long and you've missed 10 years? You start hanging out with the wrong crowd and get into trouble, that's what. Friends that may or not have been in residential school were leading my dad down the path of crime, literally. He was asked to join in on a newfound past-time. Breaking and entering. And this past-time was very lucrative, as rich American tourists loved to vacation in the Lake of the Woods area, where their cabins are easily accessed by boat, car, or by foot.

My dad declined at first. He tried his best to stay clear of the criminal element that lurked around the corner. But, times were hard. Jobs were scarce and eventually, the saying, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop." was ringing true. He caved in to the beckoning of his criminal relations. They hit a cabin. And once my dad got the taste of stolen booty, it was too hard to resist. They hit a lot more cabins without being caught. Until finally one day his ever-faithful partner in crime confessed to suspecting police. Reality check. The judge found my dad guilty and sentenced him to a year in jail.

More jail terms would follow in the next 10 years of his life. He saw bad things in prison. Undoubtedly, things much worse than in the residential school. He saw inmates maim and kill each other. Riots that were a normal occurance. Yes, he had come long way from when he was just 7 years old. Being taken to a supposed sanctuary of peace and better learning. But, all my dad learned was pain. Pain that was a searing hot coal in his hand, now a cool and molded stone. He held it in his clenched fist and white knuckles. He wanted to throw it away. But where? He wrote that he never knew parental love, nor right from wrong. He was hardened from the get-go. He passed it on to me.

But, one other thing he passed on to me is love. I've always loved my dad despite his mistakes. There will never be anyone like him. And that stone of pain he carried for so long is in the depths of the sea. Right beside the Residential School Legacy![/b]

I'm here and I am there already.
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former member default image - bird flying away

Posted:     Post subject: Residential School Legacy


Reading your post and listening to what your dad went through brought to mind a video I watched. You may know it or have seen it. There are some that read this may have never seen it, but nontheless it is touching. I have friends who also went through the horrors of these residential schools. I was left speechless, angry and deeply hurt. Being of Native ancestry and having a child. I can only imagine if that was my child who suffered such horrors. It is hard to watch this and not have anger or hatred against those and the religious institution that perpatrated this. You can see some of the people here are affected by this for the rest of their natural born lives. It still continued even with non native peoples.

I ask myself how can another human can take the rights and basic human dignitiy of other people simply because of thier color or ancestry. Shear evilness.

We try to move on, but never forget this is only a few pages of the book of horrors of what our people went through.



Watch this video-UNREPENTANT

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former member default image - bird flying away

Posted:     Post subject:

`my great great Grandmother "attended" one of these Residential schools in Canada, where Aboriginal children and youth were genocitically murdered. How can you dehumanize someone in the name of God? I hope YHWH will show them what their souls what they deserve.

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former member default image - bird flying away

Posted:     Post subject:

`i'm so sorry for what your dad and others have went through. theres nothing anyone can do about the past, and an "apology" would only help a little.. because i'd imagine america would do it again if they had to protect "THEIR" 'rights' to steal land and keep their dominance if everyone looked at the bigger picture of the world instead of their own petty problems then people might start to care. but it starts with being educated with what happened..

unrepentant made me cry so hard watching the people tell what happened..

Kevin Annett (i think was his name) was a brave man after experiencing firsthand how economically powerful the church is.. past affects the future. i dont know how ANYONE can be a christian knowing what it has done throughout history..

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