TRC meets with NWT inmates

Inmates at Northwest Territories biggest jail will get a chance to tell their residential school stories this week in private statement gatherings with the TRC.

North Slave Correctional Centre prisoners to talk about residential school experiences

Prisoners at the Northwest Territories’ biggest jail will get a chance to tell their stories of residential school during four days of private statement gathering this week.

Truth and Reconciliation commissioner Marie Wilson started the process on Monday, when she met with prisoners. It was the first time a TRC commissioner has met with inmates.

Jail is a place former residential school student Hank Lafferty knows well. For 21 years he lived a life of drinking and crime that led to him serving time in Yellowknife, Edmonton, and Drumheller, Alta.

Lafferty said he broke out of that cycle nine years ago by confronting his residential school demons.

"Like when we sit in our circles and talk about all our sexual abuse and all the things that happened to us in residential schools.. all our stories are the same because it all happened to us."

The North Slave Correctional Centre is the second correctional facility the commission has visited.

 "It’s a landmark event," said Felix Lockhart, a traditional counselor at the jail. "This gives the individuals the motivation and the power to be able to talk about how they feel, be listened to in a constructive basis so healing can take place."

 So far TRC has gathered 853 statements from across the north.