Naming the West : Stories Siksika Crowfoot School School

Elders' StoriesElders' Stories

Siksika Elder Story 1:
Crowfoot School

Do you have to be a certain age to go to residential school?

(conversation in native language)

When you six years old, Indian affairs, the RCMP, and one priest will go to your house. Then they’ll tell your parents you son or your daughter is six years old, they have to go to school. If you do not want to go, your mother or your dad tells these three ‘he doesn’t want to go to school.’ Then the parent will be told by Indian Affairs ‘if you do not let your child go, there is police with me, you are going to jail.’ When they took me away this was at the West End. I told my father ‘there are white people out here.” He looked and he just covered his mouth. He said ‘go and hide under the bed.’ And I hid under the bed. Then a knock at the door. He said ‘we got Royal, Royal, he’s six years old. We have to take him.’ And I was very quite under the bed. And of course, I did not understand English in those days, but I heard my mother shouting. I guessed that when I grew up they were going to take her to jail if she don’t tell the Indian aides where I was hiding. Finally, the policeman looked under the bed, and I had to get out of there. And I was screaming for my mother, trying to hold her. But then the police was stronger than me, and he just grabbed my by my collar. And I was still holding onto the door when they were dragging me out. That’s how I went to school.

2:52 video (11.10 Mb)

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