These pictures are of the Spanish Indian Residential School that stands off HWY 17 west in Blind River, Ontario and at the mouth of the Spanish River. The boys’ school had a capacity for 180 boys, and the girls’ had a capacity of 150. At the time the government paid out 35 cents per day, per child for food, clothing and utilities. The shell of the girls’ school remains standing to this day after a fire in 1981, however the boys’ school was demolished in 2004 and all that remains is the white pillar and a grassy field. So many of these school properties are actual grave-sites of so many lost children that never made it home.
Place your semaa (tobacco) to pray for these children and their families. These children died at the hands of adults; feeling lost, abandoned, sick, and lonely for their community, parents, language and culture. How many more children will be found? Let’s work together to advocate and educate in the spirit of reconciliation.
Sarah Blackwell, Bzhiw Kwe
Indigenous Enriched Support Program Coordinator
Centre for Initiatives in Education, Carleton University
Supporting Statement from Centre for Initiatives in Education, Carleton University:
In the wake of the recent discovery of 215 bodies beneath the site of the Kamloops residential school, we are reminded of the real and ongoing trauma Indigenous people face across the country because of colonization.
Reconciliation and the pursuit of justice are a responsibility that must be embraced by settlers to this land.
We extend our condolences to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, and to all First Nations, Inuit, and Métis families and communities whose children were stolen.
If you or someone you know is struggling in the wake of this news there are resources available to help:
- For Indigenous Students at Carleton University there is individual counselling available with an Indigenous Counsellor
- National Residential School Crisis Line is there to help survivors of residential schools. Call 1 (866) 925 – 4419
- Hope for Wellness Help Line offers counselling and crisis intervention for Indigenous people. Call 1 (855) 242 – 3310 or chat online at hopeforwellness.ca (counselling on the phone and online is available in English and French, and by request phone counselling is also available in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut).