Residential Schools is a big part of North American history. This video conference is a part of learning, remembering, and acknowleding the darkside of our history and celebrating our work towards reconciliation.
This is the conversation that took place over Twitter.
St. Andrew's school from High Prairie welcomed Elder Larry Big Charles. Elder Big Charles shared his memories and experiences at Residential Schools.
Elder Big Charles was really young when he was taken to a Residential School. As most First Nation children, he only spoke his First National language, which is Cree. In Residential Schools no one was allowed to speak their First National language.
"Our language was taken away from us" - Elder Big Charles.
Elder Big Charles also explained that Residential Schools were not just for First Nation children. It was very diversed. A lot of caucasian children from poor family attended Residential Schools as well.
One of the biggest obstacle he had to over come in his healing process is to forgive his parents. He had a hard time understanding that it wasn't his parents choice that he had to go to a Residential School. It was the government forcing people to to attend Residential School.
As a result of Residential School, Elder Big Charles had to go back to school to learn about his culture, tranditions, and language. Education was a big part of his healing process and strongly encourages everyone to continue to educate themselves on Residential Schools and First Nation Culture.
Elder Big Charles encourages other Elders in the community to share their First Nation traditions with the younger generations. It is important for the younger generation to educate themselves as much as possible about their cultural heritage.
Learning about First National culture is a part of the healing process. It allows you to appreciate and over come the shame and rebuilding pride in one's cuture.
Students also had a chance to ask Edler Big Charles questions. Students asked questions regarding his relationship between him and his family, his experience and relationship with other students at Residential School.
Elder Big Charles explained that in Residential Schools his friends became his family. They would protect and support each other through the hard times. However, strong friendship between students was discouraged as well.
Elder Big Charles shared with us that his parents went through the same process as he did. Growing up his parents were also sent to Residential Schools and it was very hard for them to see their children go through same process.
Elder Big Charles shared that programs and video conferences helps with the healing process as well. These programs and video conferences brings awarness about Residential Schools.
Everyone was very moved and touched by the stories started during this video conference.