POLITICS

Regina hearings hear from elders who lived through residential school system

01/16/2012 11:32 EST | Updated 03/17/2012 05:12 EDT
REGINA - The dark legacy of the residential school system is being explored at Regina hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Aboriginal elder Kirby Littletent says the residential schools were designed to “rip the Indian out of the child."

He says he fears that's what the Canadian government is still trying to do today by failing to honour treaties.

He says he believes the Canadian government wants aboriginals "to be destroyed.”

Aboriginal elder Irene Favel says she was eight years old when she was taken from her parents to live at a residential school.

She says her most horrible memory is what a nun did at her school after a young girl gave birth to a baby.

“There was this nun walking with this little pink bundle," Favel told the hearings. "Right into the furnace, they burnt that little baby’s body."

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is holding a total of 12 community hearings in Saskatchewan ending with a national event in Saskatoon in June.

Commissioner Marie Wilson says the goal is to hear and share as many stories as possible to get a better understanding of what the experience meant and did to people, the lasting impact it has had, and what lessons can be learned from it.

From the hearings held across the country, the commission will prepare a historical record on the policies and operations of the schools, and will also produce a government report with recommendations concerning the residential school system and its legacy.

(CJME, CJWW)