From Facebook, with permission of the author, Theresa Hall.
Our ancestors practiced our way of life guided by their Spiritual teachings; love, honesty, respect, wisdom, humility etc. So when the European missionaries came and preached the Christian Teachings our ancestors accepted these teachings. Why? Our people thought the foreigners practiced what they were preaching. So it was easier to allow their children attend the residential schools believing their children were in capable hands and in a loving care.
But in fact it was totally opposite. First Nation Children in these schools were abused physically, spiritually, mentally and sexually. We the students were also made to feel inadequate by racial slurs (discrimination) directed to us during the years we spent at these institutions by the very people who preached the gospel to us. In fact these Christian teachings were contradictory as the missionaries' action did not conform to the Word of God as preached to us.
As a result Society is witnessing first hand the historical impact of these abuses. These historical abuses are also inter generational and that is the chaos/impacts that we are witnessing in our peoples lives and the lives of our youth today.
Another historical fact, the settler Governments signed Treaties with our Grandfathers promising benefits for our people. But the Treaties was a way to take the land from our Grandfathers/our people. The Government even relocated our people often to unfavourable lands for farming or away from economic base as our people have not benefited from the wealth of our natural resources as compared to none First Nations. And the evidence facing the Nation 'the poverty of our people' such as Attawapiskat as well as other First Nation communities/reserves.
To heal these historical impacts/abuses will take enormous resources for years to come. And moving/relocation is not the answer. The answers are in the 94 recommendations by Truth and Reconciliation as prepared by the TRC report. But it will take huge financial resources to implement them.
Another action that is contradictory, when the Governments is not releasing or surpressing evidence as obtained my O.P.P. Investigations. True Reconciliation will not come to pass as keeping evidence from the Nation is contrary to what Government is promoting when they say, ' we are in a new relationship with First Nation'.
Not true in my opinion. I am a survivor/warrior of 2 Residential Schools, St. Anne of Fort Albany and Fort George, Quebec. In fact I am a first hand witness what transpired in those schools. In other words I suffered and witnessed the abuses.
Can one heal and come to terms with the past abuses? Yes. But it is a life long journey but worth it. However Society needs to stand with us.
Thanks again to all who came out to court in Toronto on May 11th!
I just want to mention that some Survivors who go to court have asked to keep their identities hidden/confidential. There are often good reasons for this and everyone has a right to privacy in such matters.
The court case on Wednesday has a publication ban as the Survivor wants to protect their privacy, and does not want the media chasing after them uninvited. Also, should the defence in this case (the Department of Justice) discover that someone has divulged this person's identity, the case could become compromised, lawyer Fay Brunning could be questioned about this (how the person's identity became known to others), and, most importantly, the person's psychological state could be further damaged. None of us would want this. Ever.
So please, if you know of a St. Anne's Survivor enmeshed in a court case, try your very best to keep their name and their situation confidential.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you who were able to attend and to everyone who sent their support and encouragement to the St. Anne's survivors and those of us trying to help, to ensure that the justice system works properly for survivors. Elder Edmund Metatawabin gave a very powerful start to the proceedings, speaking to the Court on behalf of St. Anne's Survivors Association and Mushkegowuk Council. Justice Perell listened very carefully to the arguments. He is a very wise and fair man. At one point, he told the lawyer for CBC that St. Anne's IRS is very important to him, in the IAP process. I would like to particularly thank Charlie Angus for his work in the House of Commons and through Parliamentary processes, to challenge the actions of the government. Most of all, I would like to pay great tribute to the many brave former students of St. Anne's, including those who have provided their evidence to the Court, who attended at the Courthouse and/or who are still bravely standing up for their rights in what is supposed to be a renewed and reconciled Canada. We will keep you posted. Fay Brunning
Yesterday felt like a good day in court, with Warrior lawyer Fay Brunning arguing for a St. Anne's Survivor whose Independent Assessment Process hearing and decision were compromised. A decision to deny him compensation was handed down before adjudicators had the opportunity to review key documents that had been held up by Canada's Department of 'Justice'. Should Justice Paul Perell mandate that this Survivor is to be provided the opportunity to have his IAP claim reviewed in its entirety, once IAP adjudicators have had the opportunity to review all newly submitted documentation by the Department of Justice, this could indeed set a precedence whereby ALL St. Anne's IAP cases may be re-reviewed to ensure that the process is - finally - fair and just.
Join the Survivors of St Anne's Residential School and Mushkegowuk Council in their fight in the court this coming Wednesday, May 11th, 9:30 am, at Osgoode Law, 130 Queen St. West, Toronto, ON. Ask the guards which courtroom we will be in as the lawyer for the Canadian government often asks to change this last minute in the hopes that people will get lost and not show up.
The Federal Government suppressed evidence and submitted false documentation in the legal hearings of the Residential School Survivors of St. Anne's. The court ruled that the Government breached their legal obligations and denied justice to the Survivors.
A Survivor will be in court fighting to re-open his case that was denied because of these legal breaches and suppression of evidence.
The former Students of St. Anne’s IRS were victims of widespread sexual and physical abuse. The Residential Schools apology and settlement process was a solemn and historic commitment from those responsible to create a path towards healing, justice and reconciliation.
However, the federal government's legal breaches have put a black mark on this process. We need to make it right.