Quebec Mohawks honour residential school victims
Two plaques unveiled to commemorate thousands of Native children taken from their homes in Quebec
Members of the Mohawk community in Kanesatake gathered Tuesday morning to remember children who were sent away to residential schools by unveiling two plaques — one in Mohawk and one in English.
Between the 1880s and 1950s, 150 children from Kanesatake were sent to a residential school in Sault Ste-Marie in Ontario where six of them died.
Event organizer Ellen Gabriel says it's important for Canadians to never forget what the children went through.
“It's emotional, but it's a day I think that shows resiliency and lets our community know — and I guess the rest of Canada know — that we are not going to forget what happened: the genocide that happened against our nations and that the reconciliation process is something we are very much engaged in,” said Gabriel.
Gabriel says the plaques, which were placed at the town's elementary and high schools, will help to connect today's youth to their people's past.
“I hope they will remember this day as a day that began their journey of learning about their history, and carrying that message of peace,” said Gabriel.
Marie Wilson from the Native Truth and Reconciliation Commission says the federal government put thousands of children in danger by sending them to residential schools.
"This is a story about Canadian children in the tens-of-thousands and what we as a country and we as a society allowed to happen to them," said Wilson.
Wilson said the two plaques are meant to help future generations remember what happened, and to make sure it doesn't happen again.
"It's as much of a significant story in this province as it is anywhere else, whether people have known it or not," said Wilson.