How does a family recover from having its children ripped from their home? Parents were threatened with jail if they didn’t have their children ready to be picked up and delivered at the beginning of the school year.
I have an older cousin who was sent to the Shingwauk school near Sault Ste. Marie when he was three. Because of his age, he was put out in the chicken coup during the day because he was too young to attend school. Who thought this was a good idea?
My cousin continues to suffer to this day from the trauma he endured at that school.
My grandfather, who attended the St Johns school in Chapleau, Ontario in the early part of the 1900s, reluctantly shared his experiences while a student there. He spoke of a time when his class witnessed a young student in grade four who had been beaten unconscious by a male teacher. The young boy never came back to school, and the story was that the boy died of his injuries. The teacher was transferred to another school operated by the Anglican Church.
From my perspective, nothing good came from residential schools.
My community, the Missanabie Cree First Nation, was not immune to the impacts of our youth attending residential schools. Missanabie Cree is a signature to treaty nine. Treaty nine covers the northern part of Ontario, an area larger than France. My community signed Treaty 9 in 1905. It took until 2019 before our land was returned to us in the form of a reserve and compensation paid for 114 years of neglect. It challenged our resolve as a community and as families. We lost much over those years, including our language, and many of our relatives died violent or self-inflicted deaths.
We suffered much of what ails many communities today. Add in the removal of our children, the torture, and sexual and physical assault against many of the children of that time. How can one expect people to come out of that without issues?