Sudbury·LIVING LIBRARY

Living Library 2018: Winnie and Bill Pitawanakwat

When Winnie Pitawanakwat was eight years old, she was taken away from her small community in Alaska and sent to a government boarding school.

CBC Sudbury featuring survivors in Living Library event

Winnie and Bill Pitawanakwat are elders who witnessed and survived abuse and loss of culture as children. They are guests at CBC's Living Library on Saturday, Oct. 27. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

When Winnie Pitawanakwat was eight years old, she was taken away from her small community in Alaska and sent to a government boarding school.

It was difficult being so far from home. At night in the dormitories, she could hear the younger children cry for their parents.

Winnie was later sent to high school in Oregon and went on to business school in Chicago. It was there she met her husband, Bill.

He grew up on Manitoulin Island, on Wiikwemkoong First Nation. Bill remembers living off the land and finding ways to survive as a community, without help from the government.

Winnie and Bill have now been together for 50 years. They are working to help young people in their communities, including their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Many of them don't even know their culture because of our society. I'm lucky I grew up with no influence except our grandmothers and our grandfathers. And I was raised up to take pride in myself and survive.- Winnie Pitawanakwat
We've been hearing stories of survival leading up to our Living Library event on October 27th, 2018 at the South End branch of the Greater Sudbury Public Library. That's because the theme of this year's event is survival. Winnie and Bill Pitawanakwat survived the loss of their culture as children. It took them years to reclaim that culture for themselves and their family. Both will be guests at our Living Library event. They joined us in studio to share their story. 10:57

Meet Winnie and Bill at CBC Sudbury's Living Library. The event is being held in partnership with the Greater Sudbury Public Library. This year's theme is "Survivors."

The event is taking place Saturday, Oct. 27 at the South End Public Library at 1991 Regent St. between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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