Indigenous children at a residential boarding school after being taken from their communities. | PBS NewsHour Extra
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Seeking Answers for the Past
Canadians are demanding answers after unmarked graves of Indigenous children were found on the grounds of a former residential boarding school in British Columbia. Similar schools existed across Canada and the U.S. aimed at “assimilating” Indigenous peoples by removing them from their communities, culture and language. Muriel Betsina, before her death in 2019, told her story of survival and healing after a harrowing childhood spent in a residential boarding school. Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To read the transcript of the video above, click here.
- Who was Muriel Betsina?
- What was life like at the residential school?
- When and Where was Muriel taken, and how old was she?
- Why does Muriel say she is telling her story now?
- How will there be healing from the residential school tragedy, according to Muriel?
- If you could meet with Muriel and the other indigenous children described here in person, what are some things you would like to ask them?
- “They say it takes five generations to get healed.” Do you believe this is true? What role do you think the passage of time plays in healing from tragedy?
- What is the importance of Muriel’s story being passed down through the generations?
- What are some important steps the government of Canada can take to care for surviving indigenous people who have been subjected to similar abuse? What could the government do to ensure such tragedies are never repeated?
Media Literacy: How does the video of Muriel talking and sewing compare in effect to cuts with her talking voice over other clips of scenery and her family?
- Take a look at the news article “Pope voices ‘pain’ over Canadian deaths, doesn’t apologize.” Why do you think the Pope would speak up about “pain,” but not apologize?
Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Extra.