Who Are These People?
- Nishnawbe Aski Nation, 2005 -
I had never seen any violence until I wen to residential school. I was five years old when I went to school. Not long after I arrived at the school all of the boys were told to assembly in the playroom. The kids were lined up by grades in a circle around the room. Two boys had run away from the school and had been caught. The boys were brought into the room by one of the Brothers. This Brother was a big man who, the kids said, had been in the war. He was carrying a big, long leather strap that had severl parts at the one end – it looked like one of those “cats of nine tails” that you hear about. The Brother pulled one of the boys pants down. Then he viciously swung the long strap down on the boys bare bum. The boy cried our when the strap it him and we all shuddered to see such a sight. Down the strap came, again and again. The boy cried out each time. There were huge welts on the boys skin where the strap had landed. By the time the boy had been strapped about ten times his skin was broken and bleeding and he was sobbing uncontrollably. Then the Brother pulled the other boy’s pants down and gave him a beating that was just as vicious as the first one. This beating had the same result – the boy cried and cried, and the skin on his bum was bruised, broken and bloody. The sight of this violent behavior scared me and the rest of the boys. I thought to myself, “Who are these people?”