Turtle Island Native Network

Indian Residential School

(formerly the Provincial Residential School Project)

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If You Feel a Memory Coming
  • Find a place where you will be safe. If you are at work, try to get home. Go to a safe spot in your home or go to a close friend's house. (Your safe spot may be a window seat, the stairway, your bed, or a favourite reading chair. It might even be a hiding place where no one can find you -- one woman spent the night sleeping in her closet on top of her shoes, something she had done as a small child to comfort herself in a house where no place was safe.)
  • Know yourself ahead of time. Do you prefer to be alone or do you prefer to be with someone in times of crisis? If you prefer to be with someone, arrange it now before the memories come; your partner, a friend or support group member may be the one.
  • Don't fight it. The best thing to do is to relax as much as you can and let the memory come. If you use drugs, alcohol, or food to push it back down, it will only come up again at some other time.
  • It's just a memory, it is not the real thing. When you have a memory of abuse that happened a long time ago, it may feel as if you're being hurt right now. Reliving the experience can be a part of your healing rather than an extension of the abuse. Remember that you are older now; you don't have to be alone.
  • Expect yourself to have a reaction. Recovering memories is a painful and draining experience. It may take time to recover. Give yourself that time; don't expect that you'll be able to return to your tasks right away.
  • Comfort yourself. Having a memory can leave you feeling vulnerable. Do something special to take care of yourself. How often do you take time to do something nice for yourself?

  • go to the sweat lodge
  • make yourself a cup of tea and curl up with a book
  • take a really hot bath with scented bath oil (and a glass of water)
  • exercise
  • write in your journal
  • eat a healthy and tasty meal
  • enjoy nature: walk, hike, or just sit

  • Tell at least one other person, if you feel comfortable. Even though you may prefer to be alone when you have a new memory, it's important that you tell someone else about it. There is nothing for you to be ashamed of. You suffered alone as a child. You don't have to do it again.
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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