What I Learned in Canada’s Brutal Residential Schools

What I Learned in Canada’s Brutal Residential Schools

The Mohawk Nation once exercised its authority over 11 million acres of territory from the St. Lawrence River to the Delaware, a land that included all of the magnificent hunting grounds of the Adirondack Mountains, a region of beauty and natural riches, occupied by a people whose technologies and philosophies forever changed the world. In the 19th and 20th centuries, these people came to be diminished to a condition where they willfully surrendered their children to the horrors of the residential boarding school system. The Mohawk were not alone in this fate. Last month, Canada was shocked by the announcement that the remains of 215 Native children had been found on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. It was another grim reminder of what a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission has described as “cultural genocide“—the decades in which hundreds of thousands of children were taken from their families and put into schools, often far from home, in which they were often abused and malnourished. I was one of those children. In 1967, when I was …
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