North

Residential school demolition marked by Cree

Cree people from across northern Quebec gathered in the town of La Tuque Thursday to watch the Anglican residential school there being torn down.

Cree people from across northern Quebec gathered in the town of La Tuque Thursday to watch the Anglican residential school there being torn down.

Between 1960 and 1978, hundreds of children from Cree communities went to the school, about 300 kilometres north of Montreal. The decrepit building is due for demolition next week.

Mary Coon, a student and later a residence counsellor at La Tuque, will lead a ceremony to remember the children who died and whose bodies are still buried there.

She says she hopes the former students will look back at the good memories, as well as the bad.

"The reason why we thought to do this, rather than just destroy [the building], was so that we could think about how we've come a long way," she says. "If we look at ourselves, where we are today, we're a stronger people.

"A lot of people have gone through healing. We know how to write, we know how to speak English, some of us know how to speak French. For those of us who went to residential school it wasn't all bad all the time."

Busloads of former students are coming from Ouje Bougoumou, Mistissini, Waswanipi and Nemaska to attend the ceremony.

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