In Quebec, indigenous people seek community counseling before searching for previous boarding school locations


Warning: This story contains some details that may be painful for readers.

Lucien Wabanonik was sent to the Saint-Marc-de-Figuery boarding school near Amos, Quebec when he was 12 years old.

Vabanonic said in an interview: “I saw a lot of things there, but it’s not very good things, I will say.”

“A lot of people are still living with these consequences. These are intergenerational consequences.”

The remains of some 215 children believed to be found in the site of a former boarding school in Kamloops, British Columbia last month, again raised questions about what might be found in Quebec.

The 2015 final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission determined that 3,200 children had died in boarding schools, of which 38 were in Quebec. Indigenous leaders Other experts say that the real number may be much higher.

This discovery by Kamloops triggered rallies and vigils across the country, including the incident in Toronto. (Chris Heglen/Reuters)

Now a member of the band member of Lac Simon’s Anishinabe Nation, Wabanonik said that the search should be “absolutely” on the site of the former Catholic institution in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue area.

This school has been in operation since 1955-73, but today it is nothing more than a ruin.

Vabanonic said that any action requires careful planning, focusing on providing support to survivors or community members who may have lost loved ones in boarding schools.

“We need to prepare them for this because it will be a difficult process,” Vabanonik said. “We need to be careful what we do.”

There are six boarding schools in the province, as well as several day schools and federal dormitories.

In an interview this week, several indigenous leaders in Quebec stated that they are willing to search for the premises of former boarding schools in the province.

In 1939, children attended a Catholic boarding school in Fort George, Quebec. (De Châtelet Archive)

But many people emphasize that they want to negotiate with the community and each other first to plan the next step.

Vabanonik said that Kamloops’s discovery touched the painful nerves of many people in his community, who are still dealing with the impact of boarding school on their own lives.

“We are all scattered,” he said. “The child was taken away without consent, and the family was broken.”

“We did hear the story”

On the east coast of James Bay, the Chisasibi community is setting up a committee to decide the next step.

Cree Chief Abel Bosum said that there is still a need to negotiate with other Cree communities.

The boarding school near Chisasibi is located on Fort George Island, where the Kerry community was located before the relocation of the James Bay hydropower development in 1981.

Cree Grand Chief Abel Bosum said that further consultations are needed. (Kree National Government/Facebook)

“Many of the children who go to Fort George come from other communities,” he said. “We did hear these stories. We know these stories.”

The Anglican institution, called the St. Philip Indian Boarding School, has been in operation since 1933-75.

According to the National Truth and Reconciliation Center at the University of Manitoba, which records the history of Canadian boarding schools, students at the school have no access to food and fresh water due to their remote location.

A fire destroyed the institution in 1943. It was rebuilt, but by the mid-1950s it was “in a sad state and overcrowded”, According to the center.

It lists 10 children He died while studying at the institution in the 1940s.

Another boarding school in Fort George is run by the Catholic Church and opened in 1937-81. Six known victims.

Bosum said there are very few traces of the Fort George boarding school, but survivors hold a mourning ceremony on the island every year to commemorate those who have disappeared, including missing children.

Discussion is in progress

Bosum himself attended the Anglican boarding school in La Tuque, which was operated from 1963-78 and is close to the Atikamekw communities of Wemotaci and Manawan, about 225 kilometers west of Quebec City.

The school was demolished in 2006 and a large number of former students from the Kerry community Witness with your own eyes.

Réjean Néquado, spokesperson for the Atikamekw Nation Constant Awashish Chief Chief, said that although the location is closest to the Atikamekw territory, most of the school’s students are Cree.

Néquado said that Atikamekw is ready to support the searched families, if this is their request.

The National Truth and Reconciliation Center listed a deceased at La Tuque boarding school, Juliet Rabbitskin, who died in 1966.

According to the testimony of TRC’s classmate Mary Coon-Come, Rabbitskin died of illness and the girl’s parents were not invited to attend her funeral.

“[There] There are only five people there,” she said.

In the Lac-Saint-Jean area, Mashteuiatsh Aboriginal Chief Clifford Moar said his community is also considering how to deal with Pointe-Bleu boarding school.

Moore said he was “very willing to ensure that research is conducted for families who lost their children and relatives during that time.

Discussions are also going on in Maliotenam, an aboriginal community near Septe Island.

According to city council spokespersons Jean-Claude Pinette-Therrien and Uahat-Maliotenam First Nations chief Mike McKenzie, “everything will be fine” to comfort the affected families and answer their questions.

Ian Lafrenière, Quebec’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, stated that he is willing to work with the Aboriginals to determine what will happen next.He says Earlier this week He hopes to announce something soon.


Anyone affected by boarding schools and those affected by the latest report can get support.

This Indian Boarding School Survivors Association (IRSSS) Call toll free 1-800-721-0066.

A nationwide Indian boarding school crisis hotline has been established to provide support to former students and those affected. People can call the 24-hour national crisis hotline: 1-866-925-4419 for emotional and crisis referral services.



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