The Story of One – Memories of the Residential Schools

Posted on June 30, 2010. Filed under: Everything Else | Tags: , |

Today at 7:21am


A little note was found between two wooden boards in the walls of the structure in the 1960s…
It was dated 1882, and looked as if it was written by a little girl… It read:

‘Where do I start, in writing my story?
Who cares, anyway? Who is listening?
I feel as though I am shouting in an empty room.
I feel confused, bewildered, and lost in this world I did not create.

Sitting here on my cold bed, I notice I am getting really good at English and my writing skills are improving, but why is my Culture being erased from my mind?
Why am I being told I cannot speak my Mi’gmaq language? Why am I beaten when I am caught?
Why have I been ripped away from my family? I cannot see my mother’s face that good anymore…
And I cannot pronounce my brother’s name anymore. Is this what Creator wishes?

Why are they roughing us up and treating us like we are no good?
We aren’t being taught – this is not a ‘school’ – no, it is a prison
and the sisters and the director of the school are all having fun and eating well.
They look like they enjoy beating us and mistreating us, and I know that this is happening in other places, too… I hear people talk about it sometimes.

I am watching all this, as I sit on my cold bed hungry and sick.
It is freezing in here, they don’t even put the heat on very much…
I am not sure what I have. Tuberculosis is all around me, my friends,
brothers and sisters, cough all night, some have even died without even being looked after.
My best friend died just ten days ago, they let him cough and bleed himself to death.

I don’t understand.

What is it with ‘me’ that they find ‘savage’, ‘uncivilized’ and ‘barbarous’?
Why is my Culture being replaced like this, and by those ‘white-eye’ that break everything?
Why was I poured salt on, and then called a ‘christian’ and given a new name?
Is mine not good enough? And why am I being made to be ashamed of who I am?

Will you please pray for me?
Help us, please, and let this all come out into the Light, it has to.
I am only 13. My name is Sho-na-ka, the one who prays for others.
Is anyone ever going to know what really happened to us all?’

Memories of The Carlisle Industrial School (Residential School for Indians)


For information on the ‘school’, go to:



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