SPPA’s Indigenous Policy and Administration Community Coordinator and Administrator Devon Saulis will lead the Wolastoqey Tribal Council Inc. (WTCI) project  Sankewitahasuwakon (Peaceful Thoughts) to help support intergenerational healing of Indian day school survivors and their families in Wolastoqey communities in New Brunswick.

Devon’s project is supported by a $100,000 Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Grant and is featured in the Jan 22, 2024 CBC News article:

Project to offer Wolastoqew day school survivors in New Brunswick specific healing programs

by Oscar Baker III

Devon Saulis and her father

Devon Saulis, project lead, and her father Kevin Saulis, a day school survivor, pick sweetgrass together.

Wolastoqew day school survivors will soon get healing programs geared to their specific needs, with a focus on intergenerational healing.

The Wolastoqey Tribal Council Inc. was recently awarded a $100,000 Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Grant to provide healing programming over the next three years, including hosting cultural events and a gathering of survivors.

The federal Indian day school and federal day school system was an attempt to assimilate Indigenous children, by removing them from their languages and culture. The institutions were often run by religious institutions and some students faced physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Nearly 700 Indian day schools operated across Canada between 1863 and 2000.

Devon Saulis, the project lead, said the programming is based on healing walks with her dad, Kevin Saulis. The duo goes on hikes where Kevin points out objects and animals in their language as a way to heal and learn together.

Devon said while working with day school survivors some expressed feelings of being left out of reconciliation discussions and the project will record their stories.

“We need the option to let people come and express themselves and understand that these things happened to us and we didn’t do it to ourselves,” said Devon.

Read full CBC article.