‘Spiritual abuse’ from residential schools had deep roots for First Nations

The Catholic Register

March 31, 2017

Blair Stonechild knows first-hand the devastating effects residential schools had on First Nations spirituality.

He spent nine years at Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School in Lebret, Sask., beginning in 1956.
“As a child I remember the shock of being removed from my family,” said Stonechild.

“One thing that really stands out in my mind was the endless torrent of prayers, Masses and confessions.”

Today, as a professor of indigenous studies at First Nations University of Canada, Stonechild looks back on that dark period of Canadian history as “spiritual abuse,” and its roots go deep.

“As I began to examine the cultural holocaust of residential schools I began to realize that this discounting of indigenous ideology was a phenomenon that started much further back in history and has extremely deep roots,” Stonechild said as he delivered the 2017 Royackers Lecture at Regis College in Toronto on March 22.

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