Shubenacadie school was the only residential school for First Nations children established in the Maritimes, and where Mi’kmaq children from Lennox Island would be forcefully placed after being taken from their parents. From its founding, the school suffered from poor construction, poor maintenance, overcrowding. In 1934, a federal inquiry was held into the flogging of nineteen boys. A doctor testified the flogging had left the boys with permanent scars, but the judge heading the inquiry said the boys got what they deserved. Children operating laundry and kitchen equipment led to a number of serious injuries.
By the 1960s it was recognized that the school lacked the resources and staff to meet the needs of the children being placed in its care and in 1967 it was closed. Throughout the years, children have fought against the system by refusing to let go of their culture, their languages and their identities. Some children ran away from the schools in an effort to return home. This is a generational trauma that Mi’kmaq and First Nations people have been carrying on their shoulders for years. “Reconciliation is about what we can do to make the relationship between Indigenous and non Indigenous people better, not just for ourselves but for our children and for our grandchildren.” – Murray Sinclair.
By: Grace Biswas