April 19, 2024

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A whole lot of individuals marched via downtown Fort McMurray on Thursday morning to recollect the victims of the residential faculty system throughout the Nationwide Day for Reality and Reconciliation. In a speech to marchers, Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) stated the scars left by the colleges are nonetheless felt in Indigenous communities.

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Adam, who attended the Holy Angels Residential College in Fort Chipewyan, criticized Alberta’s little one welfare system as “the brand new residential faculty system.” The federal authorities has authorized $35 million in funding for Treaty 8 First Nations for transitional housing for youngsters popping out of the system. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday in Edmonton.

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“We obtained abused at residential faculty and we obtained abused at day faculty, however the abuse continued lengthy after residential faculties closed their doorways and it continues right now,” stated Adam. “An elder stated it can take three generations to heal… my daughter and my grandchildren and my nice grandchildren would be the ones who slowly fade away from it.”

The Holy Angels Residential College opened in 1874, moved to a brand new constructing in 1881, expanded 3 times and closed in 1974. The constructing, which was on Mikisew Cree First Nation land, has been demolished. The Nationwide Centre for Reality and Reconciliation has confirmed the deaths of 89 kids attending the residential faculty between 1880 and 1953.

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Adam was certainly one of many victims who skilled bodily and sexual abuse on the faculty. Lots of the kids he went to the varsity with ended up in jail, preventing addictions or battling psychological well being issues.

Adam himself spent six months incarcerated when he was youthful, and remembers assembly different residential faculty survivors in jail. As he was leaving, he requested a guard what number of he thought would return. The guard stated some would return inside two weeks, others can be again the day after their launch.

Adam by no means spoke together with his personal kids about his experiences on the residential faculty till roughly 18 months in the past. He held again tears as he talked about how the varsity system harmed households and urged folks to like one another.

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“The one factor I taught my children was that no one was going to ever take them away from us once more,” stated Adam. “We won’t put them in a system the place they are going to be abused and manipulated as a result of right now, it nonetheless carries on.”

The Nationwide Day for Reality and Reconciliation is definitely held on Sept. 30, however First Nation and Métis leaders felt extra folks can be obtainable on a Thursday. Organizers additionally wished to incorporate native faculties within the rally.

“They tried to they tried to vary the course of historical past by taking the kids away,” stated Dennis Fraser, director of Indigenous and Rural Relations with the municipality. “Now it’s the kids right now which can be going to be studying with them and carrying it ahead.”

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Drummers at Kiyam Community Park for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 28, 2023. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network
Drummers at Kiyam Group Park for the Nationwide Day for Reality and Reconciliation on Sept. 28, 2023. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray As we speak/Postmedia Community
People at Kiyam Community Park for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 28, 2023. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network
Folks at Kiyam Group Park for the Nationwide Day for Reality and Reconciliation on Sept. 28, 2023. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray As we speak/Postmedia Community
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Folks at Kiyam Group Park for the Nationwide Day for Reality and Reconciliation on Sept. 28, 2023. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray As we speak/Postmedia Community

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