Cherokee Morning Song

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The World Needs To Hear Stories of Residential Schools

This section is dedicated to the many children who has been kidnapped, placed in residential schools, beaten, raped, murdered & secretly buried, tortured, starved, used as slaves & also many other inhuman abuses inflicted on them by the Governments of Canada, The American Government, The United Church, The Anglican Church & The Roman Catholic Church all in the name of God & the civilization of the ....  savage indian.

Megwetch (Thank you.)

The greatest shame on the Canadian & American history still remains & always will as to when the churches were given free reign to bring the ignorant Indians out of the dark ages.

First of all, we are not Indians, but Aboriginals, Natives. 
These acts of violence on little children were & remain to this day as a reminder of a sorted past displyed in actions by adults who were to be supposedly for the betterment of our people. Not that we needed their help. Long before the whites came to the shores of North America, we had already set up our own educational system that worked, We had our own means of health care. We had no violence in the home, nor did we have alcoholism . These  things did not exist before the white man.

Many diseases with which we ended up being afflicted with did not exist before their arrival on our shores.
We had respect for ourselves, our family & the whole community & the Creator. 

The Europeans tried to strip us of what we had by abuse & neglect. We had more food than the norm & were not starving to death only to be saved by the new intruders, but in reality gave away much of our foods to help out the whites as they spent their first few winters starving to death. 
It was them who needed us. Not the other way around. Documented history has proven this to be true.

When you strip away the lies, the garbage &  separate the fact from fiction you see a totally different picture as to what it was really like.

How we where we paid back is another thing. For what we did in welcoming them, we were forced to starve nearly to death as the American Government put a ban on us from hunting our own food. We were driven by physical force from our lands & displaced to other areas so the new arrivals could have the best lands free of charge.

We were forced into residential schools, breaking up the family where all forms of evil abuses were heaped on us as innocent, helpless children unable to defend ourselves from the cruelty.

These abuses were inflicted by the staff, educators & religious teachers & priests under the pretence of advancing our ways & our people.

In short, what we ended up with were child abusers, rapists, murderers, pedephiles kidnappers & those who practice genocide teaching us, abusing us & living with us . Church run & government sanctioned criminals. 

We were given alcohol & forced or tricked to sign away our lands & our lives when in fact we didnt even know what we were signing as we didnt speak the language & had been tricked into consuming alcohol. Before the white man, we didnt get drunk as they have falsely said simply because it was them who introduced us to it. Before that, we had no alcohol.

As for things like scalping or torture, that was brought amongst us by the French & Spaniards. The American government thought it a good idea to place a bounty on our heads in the hopes of wiping out or race. Sounds like another who had a hand in world war 2 with the same intentions. 

The rules were, for every Indian scalp a man brought in, he was rewarded with a bounty reward. 30 pieces of silver. Hmm! The price of betrayal still exists, only in dollars & cents.

We welcome them. They try to murder us. 
My question is..  how is it that the Native Americans where the ones who were dirty, wild & dangerous to the human race when we are the victims.
Did I miss something or are all the history books who tell the truth about our history & admit what I have written lying.

 I am not hateful toward other races at all. I am however hurt, as we all are at the injustice that was done to an innocent people because we are of a different color or have different values.

If we are equal as all people should be, in knowing what greed, hate, hurt, loss of self esteem, a way of life, our home & everything else we had, does this mean that when we read about.. justice & liberty for all it means as long as your not different than the norm. 

You be the judge.
Racism still exists. Its long past the time to end it.

Residential schools are Canada's & the United States shame.


For roughly 100 years, their aim was to break the back of the Native families, community, history and spirituality.

Some call it genocide. Others call it a holocaust. More refined thinkers label it mere assimilation.

I'll Never Forget

One day I received a call from my granddaughter.

"Grandma, I have to write an essay on Residential schools for Social Studies and I was wondering if I could come over so you can help me?"

I told her I would love to help her and not a moment after she hung up there was a knock at the door. She came in and sat in the big chair beside me.

"Can you tell me the story of your time in the residential school?" she asked.
Memories started to rush back to me.
I began to tell my story,

"During the time of residential schools, Indians were considered savages. A man named Duncan Campbell Scott created the schools to get rid of the 'Indian Problem.' I'll never forget the day I was taken from my parents. 

I was eleven years old. It started out a beautiful day and I was helping my mother get lunch ready. A man and a woman arrived at our place and told my mother and father that me and my brothers had to go with them and there was no option. 

As we rode away with the man and woman on the horse I remember looking back and seeing tears running from my mother's eyes."
I continued,

"When we arrived at the school me and my brothers were separated and I was taken to a little room down the hall. 

In that room, I was bathed because Indians were thought of to be dirty and have lice. 

They gave me a dull grey dress to wear and worst of all they cut my hair.

 I had been growing it for years and it was almost down to my knees. I was taken to a big room where the other children were and we had supper. 

Upon seeing my brothers I went running over to them. Only to be dragged unwillingly back to my seat and told I could not speak with them. 

As I sat with the other girls, I decided to engage in their conversation. I was hit and told I wasn't allowed to speak my own language. 

That night I cried myself to sleep."
I picked up a tissue and wiped the tears from my eyes,
"I had to learn to do the things the other children did like speak English. 

Every day was the same. We'd wake up, eat, do our chores, go to chapel, go to school, have supper, have some supervised recreation time, then go to bed. 

Every night for a month I cried myself to sleep. I missed my parents so much and not being able to speak to my brothers made it worse."
My granddaughter interrupted me,

"Grandma, did you make friends at the school because you know friends are good to have to help you get through things."
I replied,
"Yes, after a while I had made some friends at the school who helped me learn the things I had to and I began to write letters home to my parents. 

I was always so excited to receive a letter from them. One day I went to pick up my letter. As I read, a knot suddenly appeared in my throat and tears rolled down my cheeks.

 It was a letter from my father telling me that my mother had gotten very ill and passed away. I started to cry. Thoughts ran through my head, it can't & true.

 I should have been there. I never got to say good bye. I ran to my room and lay on my bed for hours that night and I got only 2 hours of sleep. 

It just hurt so much to know that it had been so long since I had seen my mother and I would never see her again."
I paused a moment to cry before I continued,
"Before my time at the school got better it had gotten worse. 

Shortly after my mothers death my father came to visit at the school. We were allowed no longer then 10 minutes to visit. At the end of our time, 

I was dragged from my father's arms back inside the school. After that, my brothers and I had tried to run away a few times but were always caught, brought back and punished. My best friend decided she had had enough and put an end to her life."

I waited while my granddaughter buttered a piece of bannock,

"It was the winter of my 14 birthday when things seemed to start looking up. I had received a letter from my father that said me and my brothers would be going home for Christmas. I was so excited I couldn't wait. Those two weeks before I got to go home seemed to last forever. 

Finally, the day came and I would go home. Me and my brothers got on the plane and arrived around supper time. We were so happy to see our father. Things seemed different though because the last time I was home my mother had been there: The thought of that brought tears to my eyes. Me, my brothers, and my father all sat down and had supper together. After supper, we could visit without time limitations.

 Me and my brothers told our father stories of our time at the Residential school. When the time came for us to go back, we didn't want to leave. My father told us we had to go back."

I stopped and poured myself a cup of tea,
"During my last few years at the school I worked hard. I acted the way the teachers wanted us to act.

 My brothers and I had continued to go visit my father on holidays. Finally, the day had come where I would graduate. I was both happy and sad. I was finally getting out of that school but my brothers had to stay for another two years. I knew inside that they would be alright."

I looked over at my granddaughter and could see tears in her eyes.

I continued, "Residential Schools were created to kill the Indian in the child. Aboriginal children were robbed of their culture and traditions and they were forbidden to speak their language. 

They were also abused physically, mentally, and sexually. And I am so glad you don't have to go through that."

As I wiped the tears from me eyes my granddaughter came over to me to give me a big hug.

Back in the 1930s, a team of German doctors arrived at the Kuper Island Indian residential school and began conducting strange medical experiments on the children. Employing large hypodermic needles, they injected some sort of toxin directly into the chests of the school's young inmates, and several were killed as a result.
-As recently as the 1950s and 1960s, aboriginal children at a Vancouver Island medical research facility were tortured with electrodes implanted in their skulls. At least one child was beaten to death with a whip fitted with razors.

-At the Hobbema and Saddle Lake Indian residential schools in Alberta, children were incinerated in furnaces. At St. Anne's Indian residential school in Fort Albany, Ontario, children were executed in an electric chair.

At McGill University in Montreal, there is a mass grave containing the bodies of aboriginal children killed in experiments undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agency's top-secret MK-ULTRA program.

There is not enough money in the world to compensate the amount of damage that was inflicted upon the children who all attended INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLs of CANADA.

The churches cant hide behind the cross anymore, covering up their abusive ways in which they treat people, justifying their actions by using God as a cover up. Its time they grew up, stood up & took responsibility for their actions.  We were not the so-called evil ones.

By their actions, we would never have known they were representing a religion which preaches love.

And the story continues....

Memories of the Kamloops Indian Residential School – Irene Billy

I was raised on the Adams Lake reserve. This story is about when I was at the KIRS. The first time I went to school, I was taken there with Larry Celesta, Melie, Cecile, my mother and father. I was very young. When I was growing up we only spoke Secwepemctsin, no English.

When I got to the school, the priest and the nuns were there. The school as very big; it looked very big because I was small. 300 children were there. I heard before I went to the school that I couldn’t speak Secwepemctsin anymore; that we would have to learn to speak English. But I only spoke Secwepemctsin at home. When the nuns heard me speaking Secwepemctsin, they took us and we were whipped with a strap and ruler. We had to stand in the corner.

We were told to pray and kneel down for one hour.

I never forgot how I was whipped, it was the first time I spoke Secwepemctsin because it was the only language I knew. I was whipped on my hands.

My hands swollen and were hurting. There was a priest there named Father Walter who knew how to speak Secwepemctsin. I saw Father Walter and I told him what happened. I guess that is what the white people call “break through the line”. I told Father Walter, “go and get my grandfather and father, look at my hands, the Nuns whipped me on my hands because I spoke Secwepemctsin”...

Not long after, my grandfather, Uncle Wilfred, my mother, and my father came to the school. My grandfather was a Chief and my father was a policeman. He was a policeman for a long time. His name was Nels Leon Kenoras.

The nuns came in and said, “Irene is not here, she is sick”, but I was in the playroom. My hands were really hurting.

They went into the parlor; it was a small room, that’s where we went when we had visitors.

When I saw them come in, I ran to them. I showed them my hands and they were very mad that the Nuns did that to me,

The nuns thought they should just have to tell us once not to speak our language. But Secwepemctsin was the only language we knew since we were babies.

I never forgot the language. But now I don’t really understand the higher level of Secwpemctsin. I was very young when I left home for the residential school. My father, mother, and grandfather were very smart in Secwepemctsin. Today, I am lucky I didn’t forget the language.

Edith and Ida Paul were seniors and intermediates. Cecile and Cecile Celesta helped me and Roseanna helped me speak English. The nuns gave them the job of helping me. From then now I enjoyed school. I was able to speak English.

After that, the Nuns didn’t whip me again, only that one time. I couldn’t forget it because I hurt so much, being hit with a big stick

At the school they only fed us a little bit of the food in them morning; a little of bit of milk and porridge and one piece of bread. At lunch we only got a little bit of food. There were big chucks of meat mixed in. They didn’t cut it up into small pieces.

They fed us some kind of soup with big chunks of potatoes, carrots, and meat in there. We were always hungry. If someone was able to steal something; they would. If someone had a friend working in the kitchen, he/she would steal carrots, turnips, or any kind of food, like a piece of bread. The little children were always hungry.

Only at Christmas, we had cornflakes. We didn’t have cornflakes at home. It was a good food although they didn’t feed us much. The poor children were hungry all the time.

I went to the school when I was young. My grandfather and grandmother were making Native medicines. They made moccasins and other things. I used to watch them but I never learned how to do this kind of work. I knew how to dry foods like apples and berries. We used to dry everything.We had a huge garden with lots of potatoes and other things. We had a cellar with apples and lots of food stored there. It was lots of work.

Today, I do not know how to tan hides. I never did that kind of work. But I used to watch my grandmother make buckskin. My grandfather and father used to hunt deer and that is what was used to make the buckskin for moccasins. They used to make snowshoes.

I was very young when I went to the residential school.

Turtle Island

Turtle Island Native Network publishes this story and notes that permission was received from Roberta Sinclair and her husband John who are custodians/maintenance workers at NIL/TU,O Child and Family Services Society 

"It would be an honor to have my story published if it means that I might help even one other survivor work through emotions brought on by the Residential School era. It will even validate my own experience. 

In agreeing to publish my story, I would like to dedicate it to my late sister Hilda; confirming that her death was truly not in vain. 

In spirit, Roberta" 

My Memories of Hilda

Hilda died February 10th 1952 due to ruptured appendix. 

Although, I was only seven years old, I remember that day as though it happened yesterday. It was a cold winter day and I remember a couple of the senior girls were given the task by the nuns to put in plain words what ‘dying’ meant and to break the news that Hilda would not be coming back from her many trips to the La Verandry Hospital. 

“She died,” they said, “and went to heaven.” 

Even though St Margaret’s School housed both boys and girls, we were never encouraged or permitted visitation with our three brothers. This was true even during the passing of our sister Hilda. We were never allowed to grieve as a family. School routine went on as usual and we were expected to get over losing our sister. 

We were lucky to see Willie, Joe or youngest brother Lennie while passing in a hall way to a class room where we would acknowledge one another with a smile or a look that might have said, “Hey, we are brother and sister.” They were so close; it was only a wall that separated us yet, they seemed so far away. I am not aware of how the news of Hilda’s death was explained to them. Joe was two years younger than me and Lennie, much younger. It’s not a great surprise if Lennie has no recollection; after all, he was barely five. 

Hilda went back and forth to the hospital from the Residential School with appendicitis attacks. She was often left in the dormitory sick with side aches and would finally be sent to the hospital when it became unbearable for her. 

The nun in charge had a private room off the girl’s dormitory and as I remember, she didn’t like to be awakened during the night. There were nights when I would awaken to hear Hilda crying in pain. I was always scared to death to tell the nun Hilda needed attention and yet, I had to be of some assistance to my sister even in some small way. I would tip-toe quietly to the nun’s bedroom door; knock until her light came on and then, I would run back to my bed as fast as my legs would go and hope she didn’t know it was me daring to wake her up. Hilda was sick like this for a long time; I didn’t understand why she was sick; appendicitis was never explained to me: I just remember feeling sorry she hurt a lot of the time. 

They brought Hilda’s body back to the school for viewing. Someone took a picture of her in her casket. I had that picture in my possession for the longest time but lost it somewhere and it’s just as well: it’s not a picture I would want to keep of her. It’s not how I want to remember her. What I remember of Hilda is someone I treasured and felt very close to. We shared a lot of good silly laughter and I loved to listen as she sang a song called “Flowers in My Basket.” I remember how Hilda would tease me about being the first to marry. 

We were very close in age and we entered the Residential School at the same time. 

The year was 1949 and I truly believe the transition from home to a strange place could have been much worse if Hilda and I were not together. She was my big sister and I looked to her for support and maybe to fill the loss of our Mother’s untimely demise. My comprehension of death didn’t really register until Hilda was buried. 

Excruciating devastation became almost normal especially for a seven year old. I thought I let this go a long time ago but writing it in words still brings tears to my eyes. It was the loneliest time of my life. I remember wanting to die just like she did; yes, if I punched myself in the stomach, my small mind tried to reason, I could die and go to heaven to be with Hilda. I remember lying on a bench one day trying to sleep my depression away when two girls walked by and noted how my hand looked just like Hilda’s. It was an honor to hear those words: WOW! My hands looked like my sister’s! I remember being comforted to hear those words. Somehow, they made me feel near to my sister again. 

Another day, I decided to sneak down to the forbidden rocks by the lake to sit there until my body froze and maybe Hilda and I could be together again. Even then, my seven year old mindset argued I would probably not see my sister but instead, I would burn in hell for killing myself. I remember feeling angry at the world, and at everyone; maybe even at Hilda for leaving me to fend for myself. 

Long after the anger subsided, I slowly began to focus on a better life for myself. My ultimate dream was to have my very own family; one that I would love and who would love me. I decided that one day; I would have a little girl who would share the same birthday as Hilda. 

Hilda’s birthday was October the 10th and as it turned out; my first borne Tina arrived October the 15th.
Roberta Sinclair 


  1. Dalton, thanks for the post. I am taking the liberty of translating it to Portuguese (Brazilian)and posting it on my community NATIVE AMERICANS, in Orkut (=the Brazilian version of Face Book). The world must know what was done to those harmeless and kind people and stop calling them "sauvages"
    Walk in Beauty!

  2. Kwee Sunflower,
    Thank you so much for your kind comment. Please be my guest & translate anything I have on here.
    I agree with you. The world needs to know the truth.
    My blessings & prayers are with you.