Graduate Theses & Dissertations

Gaagnig Pane Chiyaayong: Forever, We Will Remain, Reflections and Memories
ABSTRACT Gaagnig Pane Chiyaayong: Forever, We Will Remain Reflections and Memories: `Resiliency' Concerning the Walpole Island Residential School Survivors Group Theresa Turmel From 1830 to 1996, Canada pursued a policy of removing Indigenous children from their families and educating them in residential schools. In coming to terms with the harsh and abusive treatment they endured, many survivors from residential schools have formed organizations to support each other and to make their experiences known. This project is a result of a participatory, community-based partnership with one such group in southwestern Ontario, the Walpole Island Residential School Survivors Group (WIRSSG), many of whom attended Shingwauk Indian Residential School. Like most of the survivors of the WIRSSG, I am Anishinaabe but did not attend residential school. The survivors invited me to deeply listen to their life experiences in order to learn about their resiliency. Guided by traditional Anishinaabe teachings and using an Anishinaabe methodology, I interviewed thirteen survivors and considered their life stories within the context of the traditional Anishinaabe life cycle. In their descriptions of resiliency, what became clear to me was that they were describing life force energy. This life force energy is innate and holistic, and can be found within each of us. It manifests within all of our relations: land, animals, plants, ancestors and other people. The life force energy cannot be extinguished but can be severely dampened as was evident in the attempt to assimilate residential school students. From their accounts, we learn that students found ways to nurture their life force energy through relationships and acts of resistance. As they have continued on their life path, they have reclaimed their spirit and today, they are telling their stories and keeping this history alive for the benefit of future generations. Key words: Anishinaabe; Anishinaabe Mino-bimaadiziwin; Residential Schools; Aboriginal Residential School survivors; Indian Residential Schools; Indian Residential School survivors; life force energy; resilience; resiliency; resiliency theory; Walpole Island Residential School Survivors Group; Shingwauk; Shingwauk Indian Residential School Author Keywords: life force energy, residential school survivors, resiliency

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