Turtle Island Native Network

Indian Residential School

(formerly the Provincial Residential School Project)

Click to Connect with the Indian Residential School SURVIVORS Society

Common Thoughts about Residential School

My parents sent me there.

Actually, you were taken away from them. Most people know that there were residential schools in B.C. run by various churches. What some may not know is that First Nations did not have a choice about going to the schools. It was against the law for parents to keep their children at home and some did not even know where their children were sent.

I wasn't sexually abused so I was not hurt.

Not all have felt the abuses but many have been affected in some way. You don't have to be sexually abused to have been hurt. Many were physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally abused or neglected in residential school. Very often this abuse was passed on to the children of survivors.

No one can understand what I went through.

It is true that only you have lived your life and can feel what you are feeling. However, since many others have suffered at residential schools, you don't have to suffer alone. Your healing can be shared with others in many ways, including at a traditional healing circle.

What's in the past should be left in the past.

We must speak out now so that residential schools can't happen again. We can make it part of the historical record in our own ways and voices. Only by telling our stories will our children understand their parents and grandparents. The truth must be told.

My parents didn't love me.

When your parents were in residential school, they weren't allowed to show their emotions. Their parents weren't there to give them love, so they never learned how to show their love for you. This does not mean that they did not love you.

Residential School was bad for everyone.

No, some people had different experiences at residential school. Whatever your experience, you are able to help others because you were there. You don't have to feel guilty about not being hurt or about feeling positive about your experience.

My Offender is probably dead so I can't do anything.

No, there are still things you can do. It is true that you cannot put your offender in jail if s/he is dead but, you can still find a way to heal. You can tell others about your experiences. You can let your family know about what happened to you so that they understand you better. You can talk to a lawyer about a civil case. There are many options.

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      More Information

What is the Society?  

BC Residential Schools

Common Thoughts

Making a Disclosure

If You Feel a Memory Coming

Criminal Prosecution Process

Role of the RCMP

Role of the Crown Counsel

Civil Process

Healing Principles