Residential School

Library and Archives of Canada

Our Government Is Re-Victimizing These Residential School Survivors

If you want to know why the Conservative government has lost so much goodwill on the residential school apology, look no further than the treatment of the survivors of St. Anne's Residential School. In the dark annals of the residential schools, St. Anne's stands out as a particularly brutal symbol of torture, shame and abuse. Unfortunately, the Federal government is re-victimizing the survivors by deliberately monkey-wrenching a process that was supposed to finally bring closure.

"I Had Been Sexually Abused at Residential School"

In many respects, my friend and colleague Garnet Angeconeb is representative of the countless Aboriginal children beaten and raped in Canada's Indian residential schools. For years he told no one, including his wife. Angry, pain-filled and confused, he drank heavily to dull his feelings. The turning-point in his life arrived during a business trip to Ottawa, on October 31, 1990. "There, on the front page [of the Globe and Mail], was an article about how the then-Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Phil Fontaine, had publicly disclosed that he had been physically and sexually abused while attending an Indian Lake residential school. As I read the article, I began to feel an indescribable pain crawling all over my body..."

With Glowing Hearts? Coming to Terms with Our Dark Past

As a Canadian, as a Jew, I'm sickened to share with you that in 1928, Alberta's Sexual Sterilization Act was passed, allowing students of a residential school to be sterilized with the principal's approval. At least 3,500 young native females were sterilized this way. Knowing this, I can understand the feelings of young Germans today when dealing with aspects of their country's past.