Thursday, June 17, 2010

Indian Residential School TRC day two Winnipeg

There was a concert at the Winnipeg Forks last night with Buffy St. Marie and Blue Rodeo performing. I didn't go due to my daughter's eight grade graduation.

Today my older brother Poncho brought my Dad (he will be 80 this December) into the city. We went to the Forks for the morning. We went to meet with some government workers on hand to deal with the ADR and compensation issues. My Dad has not heard since he has been the system. He is waiting for his claim to be settled. I gave a big lecture to the workers about the compensation process, the claim process and the settlement agreement. It brothers me that my Mom went through the school and with no story being recorded.
We are going back after 5p.m. today for my Dad to give a statement for the TRC. My auntie Tereance is going to be there to give a statement as well.
My Dad is spending the afternoon at the convention centre. My brother Donald is with him. My niece is graduating her grade 12 upgrading. Once the afternoon graduation is complete I will meet my Dad back at the Forks for his statement.
On my way back to my Wife's house, I came across a group of Indians riding horse back in the city of Winnipeg. They must be on their way to the Forks for the TRC event. It is a big event in Winnipeg and Canada for Indians. Some people are hopeful for the event while some are critical.

The Inn at the Forks is a beautiful hotel. Many of the rooms are booked by the Survivors and the TRC for the event. In the hotel Lobby I ran into Mr. Lawrence (Happy) Smith from Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. Happy is an 84 year old Residential School Survivor. He went to Fort Alexander Residential School in our Reserve. His mom was a Guimond from our Reserve and his Dad is a Smith from Wisconsin. His Dad was a college educated Indian in the United States. Happy is one of those guys that worked hard and still continues to commercial fish. He was a logger. He used to cut four cords of wood a day by bucksaw. ("A full cord is a large amount of wood. It measures 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by eight feet long (4' x 4' x 8') and has a volume of 128 cubic feet".)
There are numerous tents set up for the TRC event. In the Sharing Circle Commission Tent is a Bent-Box. It is a piece of artwork that is indigenous to the West Coast. The piece was commissioned by the Commissioners for the TRCommission of Indian Residential School Survivors (I think). There are other tents that have different purpose, some are art work tents, history tents, registration, Sharing and other things.

The event seems to have attracted lot of people from all over. It is a buzz of activity at the forks. Lot of Indians. I met some people last night at the hotel where my daughter's graduation was. This Indians were from a Reserve outside of the City of Victoria in British Columbia. Victor and his family were telling us about his experience in school. He is in his sixties and he can't speak his language. He was telling us how his Mom and Dad refused to speak their language to them so the kids wouldn't suffer in the school like they did. Very effective use of the Church by the government to try and get rid of the Indian. Now our kids are living with that legacy.

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