Storytelling With Dad

When I first learned about residential schools, as a teen and more in college, I learned a lot of general facts. Horrible facts–beatings, molestation, crappy living conditions–but still general. Reading the Commission’s report, however, what stayed with me were the ordinary childhood experiences kids lost. Like this…

Bob Baxter, Anishinaabe: “I remember the legends at night that my dad used to tell us, stories, and how he used to show us how to trap and funny things that happened. You know there’s a lot of things that are really, that are still in my thoughts of how we were loved by our parents.”

Some of my best childhood memories are of storytelling, like my dad reciting ‘The Cremation of Sam McGee‘, a tradition passed down from my Irish great-grandmother. A lot of kids sent away to residential schools didn’t get to see their families very often, if at all, so: No more nightly stories, and less chances to pass stories down to the next generation.

Anishinaabe territory. This testimony was given around the Great Lakes (Thunder Bay.)

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