Residential schools were around for over 100 years. The effect these schools had been not on just one person but an entire culture these effects are detrimental and severe. The intergenerational trauma still exists and affects people’s lives. My Grandmother was one of those people who experienced this trauma first hand. She was a survivor of the residential schools, she never talked about it my entire life the memories too painful to share. I now wonder though after watching Muffins for Granny if it was more to do with what one of the survivors had said “that God will punish me for talking about them in a bad way.”
For my Visual presentation I wanted to represent the trauma pain and suffering of these survivors including my own grandmas. These schools attempted to incinerate a whole race of people. Eradicate a way of life and they didn’t approve of and coerce these people to a life of Catholicism. While they were able to tear the First Nations people down they were not able to eradicate them their heritage and culture is being revived and celebrated more each year. And as Educators we are being taught about the non-European history, and we are honouring the fact that we are on Treaty Four territory. For my Visual Presentation I Choose Cree words that I thought reflected the residential schools and what I have learned so far about them.
Nêhiyawi – Cree the language these words are written in
Kisnkinwahamâtowikamik – School a place where learning is supposed to take place.
Kitimahtasowin – Abuse what actually happened and is still being passed on.
Awâsis – Children to whom it happened to.
Mâtowin – Crying for the people who had to bare witness.
Ayamiha – Pray for the survivors & for us to never forget
Nikamoh – Sing the songs of the warrior for the perseverance of a race.
Written in red to symbolise the blood shed of the children who never survived are words spoken by the supposed educators of these schools, always remembered by the victims. The Numbers Sign to represent the names forgotten and replaced with numbers. The flames of the fire, are drowned by alcohol just as the trauma is for a lot of the survivors. The flames can be put out but the damage is irreparable.
This project is something close to my heart, and being able to educate ourselves and others on the impact of these schools is very meaningful. As future educators it’s our responsibility, we must learn about what happened and educate others on the importance of never forgetting and never letting it happen again, while also hopefully taking some of the racial stigmas away from First Nations people.