Residential school survivor stone unveiled in Potlotek

Twenty-four names have been engraved in a stone erected outside a Potlotek school, commemorating those forced to endure residential schools.

Monument engraved with 24 names of survivors erected outside Potlotek school

A monument engraved with 24 names of residential school survivors was unveiled at Potlotek school. (Hal Higgins/CBC)

Twenty-four names have been engraved in a stone erected outside a Potlotek school.

The newly-unveiled monument erected outside of Mi'kmawey School recognizes members of the community forced to endure residential schools.

Between 1923 and 1967, many native children were taken from their families and sent to the Shubenacadie School, where some were subjected to physical, emotional and sexual abuse. 

Thursday’s unveiling ceremony honoured the victims — but also focused on those living in the community now.

During the ceremony, elementary school children read the names of those uprooted from their home community many decades ago and sent to Shubenacadie.

The children then listened as Marie Wilson, who served on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, spoke directly to them.

"Children like you had very bad things happen to them. They were taken away from their homes when they were little kids, like you,” she said.

Robert Pictou was one of those children.

He saw and suffered personal abuse for seven years at a residential home in Shubenacadie.

Pictou says it's important that today's young people understand that what happened in residential schools had the government's blessing at that time.

"The government censored everything that was going into the school and going out of the school.  We didn't even know that when we did come to our homes, we didn't even know we had baby brothers or baby sisters because that was kept from us," he said,

Pictou says, to this day, he has trouble sleeping because of what he endured in Shubenacadie.

But he's extremely happy that today's Mi'kmaq children are able to celebrate their language and culture.