KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Yesterday the federal government announced that the site of the Shubenacadie Residential School has been designated a National Historic Site.
The school closed in 1967 and burnt to the ground in 1986. There is next to nothing to formally remind us of the horrors that occurred there. It is now the location for a plastics factory.
By the way, no angry settlers wrote letters to the paper to protest this erasure of history at the time.
See also Weekend video: Magit’s doll
“When you come here you can feel the spirits here, and feel the energy,” says Dorene Bernard in a moving short video co-produced by Bernard, the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre, and FPS Productions.
Bernard, who spent time at the residential school when she was little, believes the site should have been maintained as a sacred site.
“It opens up the conversation, to talk about Truth and Reconciliation,” she says. “This place impacted so many lives, and I pray that this place will help us to acknowledge our past but also to help us to heal the future and make sure that our descendants and all Canadians have a place to come and honour the survivors, so no one will ever forget about the legacy of the residential school in Shubenacadie.”
Check out the video, and for more, read Isabelle Knockwood’s Out of the Depths, The experiences of Mi’kmaw children at the Indian Residential School at Shubenacadie, a really great memoir published by Roseway Publishing, an imprint of Fernwood Publishing.
See also: The complex truth: Intersections between Day Schools and the Shubenacadie Residential School
With a special thanks to our generous donors who make publication of the Nova Scotia Advocate possible.
Subscribe to the Nova Scotia Advocate weekly digest and never miss an article again. It’s free!