I had the honor of being invited to hear many horrific stories of children being taken from their homes by Mounties to be transported hundreds of kilometers away, placed in a residential school and not permitted leave.
They were captives and endured years of pain and suffering at the hands of those who operated the facilities sanctioned by the Canadian government.
Identical atrocities were committed in the United States.
Pain and suffering at the hands of another with no escape is traumatic if you are an adult enduring sexual or domestic abuse but children's response is worse.
Dr. Simon Lucas and Larry Baird Sr. selflessly offered their time and knowledge with my Port Alberni, BC grade 4/5 class sharing the history of residential schools from their perspective.
Volunteers help paint parts of the pedestrian portions of the Orange Bridge (Riverbend Bridge) on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. (PHOTO COURTESY KEN WATTS)
"The bridge has a far more somber history than the argument over its nomenclature. Children being transported to Alberni Indian Residential School from other communities around B.C. were driven over the bridge on the way to the school. Many survivors refuse to return to the area, or to cross the bridge into Tseshaht First Nation territory. The new orange paint is changing the narrative, said Tseshaht elected Chief Councilor Wahmeesh Ken Watts."
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