Learning About Residential Schools at MMA
On Friday, May 22, Marymount Academy had Elder, Gert Nootchtai come and speak about her residential school experience. Students TiCarra Paquet, and Starr Trudeau, along with aboriginal support worker, Carla Petahtegoose coordinated the event. Students from Gr 9 – 12 were able to shed some light on a very dark part of Canadian history. Elder Nootchtai spoke about how she wasn’t allowed to speak her language, or practice her culture at residential school, there were punishments in place according to what you did. Elder Nootchtai shared most of the time she did what she was told to avoid punishments . She also touched upon the “1960’s scoop,” when aboriginal youth were taken from their families by Indian Agents hired by the government, and then put into the residential schools or child protective services. At times her memory is unclear if her guardians were aware of what was happening or if they just took her to school without consent. On a lighter note she did mention some fun activities for her at Spanish Residential School was when the Native teacher was hired and she took them outdoors for walks a lot and the kids would always sign up for this to get out of school. Following Elder Nootchtai’s shared experience, staff and students participated in an activity that allowed students to experience what it felt like to be removed from a community. of Residential School survivors. In recognizing the trauma and historical truths of Canadian history, it was a very educational day, and Marymount Academy looks forward to embracing more FNMI culture in the school.