Sharing part of the solution

“Kill the Indian in the child.” Pretty harsh statement, but that was the reality of Canadian education policy when it came

“Kill the Indian in the child.”

Pretty harsh statement, but that was the reality of Canadian education policy when it came to our indigenous peoples, Splatsin Chief Wayne Christian reminded listeners at last week’s school board meeting.

In addition to Christian, Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson and a number of aboriginal people attended to call for action on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations as they relate to changing the education system.

As part of the presentation, residential school survivor Beverly Saul of the Neskonlith band spoke of her experience in residential school – and how the generations of such treatment ripped apart the fabric of their lives.

From age nine to 12, Saul was taken from her family along with her brother and forced to live at the school. Despite being at the same school, the siblings were totally separated. Saul saw her family twice a year, at Christmas and Easter holidays, before being returned for a summer break.

“It was like going back to strangers. We didn’t know each other, we didn’t know how to communicate.”

While she learned some skills: cooking, sewing and laundry, she was also taught to be ashamed of who she was and where she had come from.

“It took me a long time, taking courses and educating myself about the trauma to find some healing, to find a connection to my land and to my people,” said Saul, whose hope is for her grandchildren to learn of their culture without leaving home.

As a parent, I can not comprehend the profound loss of having my children taken from me. I can not imagine my babies not getting tucked into bed at night with kisses and loving words, instead being turned into strangers, spending their days being told their family are heathens or worse.

To think of what Saul and the hundreds of others suffered, it really takes my breath away. It’s so difficult to imagine how such a thing could happen in Canada. But happen it did.

Canada is not immune from racism, or, as Christian pointed out “cultural genocide.”

Christian spoke of how, as a boy in Enderby, he would walk past signs reading, “No Indians, no dogs.”

A shameful legacy for this country to bear.

The band members see the future and know that it will take time to change. They also know that one of the best hopes for change is by educating our children – native and non-native.

They are looking for substantial efforts to include aboriginal curriculum into our schools, especially by adding information and history about the bands in this area specifically.

Sharing stories was discussed as a powerful way to connect. Their hope is for elders to be able to share, and teach as a way of enhancing pride and understanding in all our young people.

“What we need our education system to do is put the Indian back into the child,” says Christian.

 

Just Posted

In photos: Monashee Mountain Men Black Powder Shoot

Black powder firearms enthusiasts gathered together to test their skills at the… Continue reading

Reel Reviews: Atypical college life

We say, “Life of the Party is pleasant and harmless.”

Caravan Farm Theatre fundraiser embraces outlaw spirit

The third annual Hands Up! Live Auction Fundraisder is June 2

In Photos: Trooper attracts a crowd on Shuswap Lake

Hundreds of boats turn up to watch the Canadian rockers play atop a 94 foot houseboat

Salmon Arm Secondary hosts B.C. mountain biking championships

Over 200 riders expected to hit the trails May 25-26

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are done

Wayne Coulson said his company still hopes to find a new home for the vintage aircraft

Cat stuck on telephone pole in the South Okanagan rescued

FortisBC rescued a cat stuck on a telephone pole in Kaleden

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Vegas Golden Knights have done the impossible and have a chance at hoisting the Stanley Cup

Changes needed for ‘Alert Ready’ mass emergency system

‘You need to strike this careful balance between alerting people to lots of problems — and doing it too often’

Your Shuswap with Ted Crouch

Find out what people in your community love about the Shuswap and Salmon Arm

Las Vegas Golden Knights move on to Stanley Cup final

Improbable run continues for NHL’s newest expansion team

Oregon’s flooded recreational pot market a cautionary tale to Canada

‘In a broader sense, we are adding legal production to an already robust illegal production’

Most Read