Academic journal article English Studies in Canada

Indoctrination of Natives: (Front Cover Art)

Academic journal article English Studies in Canada

Indoctrination of Natives: (Front Cover Art)

Article excerpt

photocopies, latex paint, acrylic, rhoplex, glitter, magazine cutouts, candles,

felt-tipped pen, mylar, pigment on

plywood.

99.0 x 122.1 cm

1990

Saskatchewan Arts Board Permanent Collection

THERE WERE EIGHTEEN CHILDREN IN OUR FAMILY from one mother and father. Six siblings died before I was born. All of my siblings and me were born at home, while the three younger ones were born in the hospital. We were raised on the farm and had all the fresh vegetables, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and cold clear water from the well. We could go outside anytime and play all day. We were free and happy.

In contrast, my four-year experience at Blue Quills Residential School was the most horrific time of my life. When I was six years old, I was forced to go to the residential school at St Paul, Alberta, which was about seventy-five miles from home. We were trucked there and not allowed to go home until June. All our personal clothing was taken from us, and we were issued cotton dresses and shoes. We were all given short haircuts and forbidden to speak our languages. If we did we were punished. The food was terrible, and the water tasted like rusty pipes. Any letters which were written home were scrutinized by the nuns and sometimes were never mailed. I was traumatized considerably, suffered humiliation from the nuns and Cree children who were there. We were called "savages" and were made to be ashamed of our bodies (my skinny legs). Today, I still have a hard time wearing a dress. I went to church with my parents when I was young and always loved going there, because of the love I felt from a Higher Power. But when I was at the residential school, I prayed that I could be rescued by my parents. I used to stand at the dorm window praying and crying.

My interest in art began with my first colouring books and crayons. I remember colouring by the light of the woodstove in the morning when no one else was up. …

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