Residential School Survivors Gather to Find Healing

OHSWEKEN – About 15 survivors of the Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford came together on Thursday for a time of healing at the home of elder Janice Longboat on Seneca Road.

The group of women heard speaker Frank Miller who, after delivering the Ganohonyo’k (Thanksgiving address) explained it all in English as well.

Also on hand was Amos Key from the Woodland Cultural Centre who spoke on the Saving the Evidence campaign, which aims to turn the former residential school into a museum.

He also talked about a time when most Six Nations elders could speak three or four of the Six Nations languages fluently.

The gathering also included a trip to the “Mush Hole”, as former students called it. Some were able to brave the painful memories by going through those big old doors, but some just could not. The women spoke of their experiences and how they have been dealing with the ghosts of the Mush Hole. Others spoke of the multi-generational damage done through Canada’s attempted genocide of Onkwehonwe culture and language.

Longboat has been helping former students (who are now seniors) as well as their families in dealing with the lasting effects. Photo by Jim Windle.

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