Tag Archives: residential schools

reconciliation. music.

haid art - from alaskafrom nancy’s blog yesterday:

today was a day of reconciliation, initiated by the assembly of first nations.

here are some facts every canadian should know (i didn’t until recently):

  • approximately 250,000 kids were forced by law to go to residential schools in canada, starting in 1850
  • these were kids age 6 – 15
  • the intent was explicit: “to kill the indian in the child”
  • it is estimated that a minimum of 35% and maybe as many as 60% of these children died within five years of being sent to the school, possibly as genocide
  • by all accounts, the schools were replete with abuse beyond the primary abuse of forbidding use of their language, breaking up families, forcing christianity on them, cutting their hair (a shaming event)

i ask you: if your children were stolen from you, and you were helpless to prevent it; if you knew they were being brutalized in a school far, far away (returning home with broken bones, and many times never coming home at all – they had died); if you knew that they were being converted to a foreign religion, were not allowed to speak your language, were having your culture beaten out of them, would you not be wild with grief? enraged? humiliated? suicidal? turn to alcohol?

nancy had a U2 video at the end of that post. i thought, hm, maybe it would also be nice to illustrate such a post with first nations music. so i looked around on youtube and found this about musician mike stevens, who brings music to isolated first nations children. and that’s made made me post this blog entry.

image by native american seals