The truck backed up and off we went. As soon as we stepped into the school, the boys were immediately separated from the girls.

social sciences


The truck backed up and off we went. As soon as we stepped into the school, the boys were immediately separated from the girls. I couldn’t see my little brother anymore, it was awful. I was always with him back at home, I never left his side, we were so close, and then all of a sudden we were separated from each other. I still cry to this day. The last thing I said to him was when we were in the truck, going to the school, I told him that he will be a survivor and we will get through it, maybe not together, but we will be okay. Unfortunately he didn’t survive. I lost my brother and I didn’t even get a chance to figure out how he passed away. I pulled through and survived but at what cost? Could you imagine a 5 year old just abruptly taken from their family. That’s what I and other Aboriginals had to go through I was all alone. It was devastating. We were made to look and think like the dominant white society, and they did the job. Myself and other Aboriginal children were given the same little bundle, the first day we arrived. It had the exact same clothing, pinafores, black clothes, and socks. All the kids including myself looked exactly the same. We were replicas of each other. You couldn’t tell one kid from the other. Our traditional clothes were put in the fire to burn, because we weren’t Aboriginal anymore. We had to dress like the domestic white society, because they were the people who were known to be more successful, unlike Aborignal people. Not only were our cheap clothes the same, but we all had our beautiful long braided hair chopped off. It wasn’t just ‘hair’ to Aboriginals, it was more than that. It had spiritual significance. The Nuns were careless. They didn’t care about the importance of our long hair. Short hair was easier to handle unlike long hair.

I never got the help I needed to learn to be successful, but what I did learn was that everything was a sin. Especially the beliefs our people practiced. It was known as witchcraft. I lost a lot. Before coming to this dreadful school, I had so much freedom, like going to the park, picnics with my family, and just being happy. My family taught me so much about my culture, but I lost it all when I went to school. We were restricted from speaking our language, because now we were English speakers. Forgetting my language wasn’t hard. Aboriginal kids including myself didn't dare to speak or have anything to do with Aboriginal culture because of the disgusting punishments we dealt with like being abused and beaten just because Aborignal children like myself loved our culture and we wanted to show how much we loved it, and not be ashamed of our culture.

Showering still traumatized me to this day. During the time I was at the residential school, I remember the first day the Nun gave me a bath. The Nun took me to the infirmary where they took my clothes off. The Nun picked me up and put me into the bathtub filled with scorching hot water. She wasn’t being gentle with me at all, she was being rough. I was just a little girl, who was taken from her family, I was scared. I started screaming, the Nun told me that I was their property, and how I had no control of anything. I was a filthy and gross girl, well that’s what they told me, I started to believe them. The Nun started to scrub me up and down my body. I was in shock. I started jumping to get out of the bath, but my actions made it worse. The Nun slapped me across the face and pulled my hair which was chopped off, so she couldn’t get a grip on my hair. It still hurt though, but that didn’t stop me from protesting. She held me down under the water, there was no way of getting out. The Nun finally took me out of the water just before I would have died, but I was only out of the water, just so she could slap me repeatedly. I wish she just would have killed me, but she didn’t. Till this day I have nightmares about taking a bath. Nobody should have to go through what I and other Aboriginal children did. No one should be taken from their family, just because a certain race doesn’t like the other. Myself along with other Aborignal children shouldn’t have been punished because we weren't originally aren’t part of the domestic white society.

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