Monday, 14 January 2013
A Celebration or a Nightmare in Thompson, Manitoba: Forgetful History in the Residential School Era
On one occasion, while driving back with a student from Tastaskweyak Cree Nation (formally known as Split Lake Cree Nation), we talked about about many subjects, mainly personal experiences. As we entered into the city of Thompson, my student passenger focused her attention on the Lamb airplane. This female student, who shall remain nameless for privacy reasons, said that she was having the shakes as her memory was glued to this airplane. She said, “Do you want to know what I see when I see that plane?” She said, “you know what, I remember the times they would force us into those planes to take us to residential school.” She said that she still to this day has nightmares from those times she was kidnapped from home by the Federal government.
I want to make it clear that I did not question the honesty of my former student. Given that our society today would only find support in the written word, I found it valuable to do so, in order to state without question that these things in fact happened. Mr. Olson found it difficult to do such a job, nevertheless, he did it because that was the only work he could find at the time.
A question one might raise is: “Why is he being so negative toward the Lamb family?” Well, that is not the point here however, the point is, why were no members of the Aboriginal communities consulted prior to erecting such a monument which triggers an ugly part of this history. I was blind to the fact that this monument held such negative nightmarish memories for many Aboriginal people of the north. I found it incumbent to write about this oversight.