Viola Papequash, Survivor
Gordon’s Residential School, Punnichy, Saskatchewan
“I say the prayers with [youth] and I talk about Residential Schools with them. I don’t talk about all my experiences, but I do say that I have been to Residential School so maybe youth will understand. They are struggling with a lot of issues, the youth are, and one is identity and self-esteem and being proud of who they are. It hasn’t been passed on from their parents because of Residential School.
So I see the younger generation struggling with that, not knowing who they are and not knowing how to be in the world, you know. . . . That’s our belief as First Nations that we don’t just think about ourselves. We have to think of the next generation and the ones yet to come. I’ll end with that. We have to think about the ones yet to come. They’re not here yet, but we have to prepare for them. And preparing means we’ve got to put down that hurt and that pain we carry now. We can’t let that be our life.”