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The residential school system has been a big part of Mabel Brown’s family story.

At age six, her mother was sent to St. Peter’s Indian Residential School in Hay River, NWT

Brown also attended residential schools herself, along with her eight siblings. She bounced from Stringer Hall in Inuvik to Bompas Hall in Fort Simpson and then to Akaitcho Hall in Yellowknife, where she eventually graduated.

And that has had a lasting impact on her family to this day, the Inuvik resident said.

“When I was triggered, it went to my daughter and then trickled down to my grandson who is now 25,” said Brown, who is Gwich’in.

“So the evidence is there. You can see how we are, our behavior and how we go through life, the struggles we had and the difficulties we had – sometimes difficulties in learning, difficulties in getting along, difficulties in marriage, problems with alcohol.”

Mabel Brown is a Gwich’in native of Inuvik. She is a residential school survivor having attended Stringer Hall Residential School in Inuvik, Bompas Hall in Fort Simpson, and Akaitcho Hall in Yellowknife throughout her childhood. (Provided by Mabel Brown)

Pope Francis will be in Edmonton on July 25 and 26 to meet Canada’s indigenous peoples and personally apologize for the abuse suffered by the Catholic Church in residential schools.

Brown will be one of 40 delegates from 18 NWT communities sent by the Diocese of MacKenzie Fort-Smith for the papal visit. Many others from the region are also planning to make the trip.

But Brown says she would have somehow found a way to see the Pope in person. For her, the chance to be there in person is an opportunity to let go of some of the trauma.

“I just hope this time will be when he’s going to say ‘I’m sorry,’” Brown said. “Say it with his mouth, with his heart and really feel it for us, what happened. Because it’s almost like something is killing us and we want that thing to be gone.”

Indigenous governments have recognized how important the event is to many people and are providing travel assistance to ensure that anyone who wishes can participate.

The Tłı̨chǫ government provides air travel from Whatì, Gamètì and Wekweètì to Yellowknife for Tłı̨chǫ elderly who plan to go to Lac Ste. Anne before the papal visit. It also provides buses for the elderly and survivors of residential schools from Behchokò.

The Gwich’in tribal council will provide funds to help Gwich’in participants attend the papal visit.

More than one in six members of the Colville Lake, NWT, community pop. 129, plans to go, according to Wilbert Kochon, the Grand Chief of the Sahtu region.

Mother and daughter trip

Descendants of residential school survivors also plan to include the papal visit.

Susan Enge and her 25-year-old daughter, Nicole Enge, will travel to Edmonton from Fort Smith, NWT, this weekend.

As survivors of second- and third-generation residential schools, they’ve seen the impact of residential schools on Susan’s mother and other family members, Susan Enge said.

Nicole Enge shows off a beaded necklace made by a residential school survivor, and beaded earrings made by a young Yellowknife craftsman. She will wear this jewelry when she meets the Pope in Edmonton to reflect the two different perspectives of those influenced by residential schools. (Provided by Nicole Enge)

She calls the visit “a way for us to reconcile a path that was filled with pain.”

The Enge family is part of the North Slave Métis Alliance and also has ancestry in the South Slave Region.

Nicole Enge represents a younger generation of Métis who have suffered intergenerational trauma as a result of residential schools.

“You see how the trauma seeps through the family… When you see that growing up, it affects you in a very different way,” said Nicole Enge. “As if you were not physically there, but you still feel that in your genes. You see that in your family.”

She says she has seen a lot of disillusionment among her peers over the years.

“I’m a little skeptical, but I’d say I’m hopeful too,” Nicole Enge said.

“There is a lot of anger with the first apology [from Prime Minister Stephen Harper] way back in 2008 and it’s been over 10 years and so much has changed since then…and that’s really what got this apology going.”

When she meets the Pope, Nicole Enge will wear a beaded necklace made by an elder who is a residential school survivor, and beaded earrings made by a young Yellowknife craftsman to show the two different perspectives of those affected by residential reflect schools.

“It enhances the vibrancy of our culture. We’ve been through all these monstrosities and we’ve conquered, we’ve prospered, we’ve come back from the brink of genocide… wearing that jewelry symbolizes that without words,” she said. .

Susan Enge said seeing the papal apology will close her family.

“I see in my mind and in my heart a solution to what happened,” said Susan Enge. “And I hope that my mother who has now passed away and all my relatives who have suffered are happy to see this happen.”

Support is available to anyone dealing with residential schools and those triggered by the latest reports.

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) can be contacted toll free at 1-800-721-0066.

A nationwide Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to support former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour National Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419.

In addition, the NWT Helpline provides free support to residents of the Northwest Territories, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is 100% free and confidential. The NWT Helpline also has an option for follow-up conversations. Residents can call the helpline at 1-800-661-0844.

In Nunavut, the Kamatsiaqtut Helpline is open 24 hours a day at 1-800-265-3333. People are invited to call for whatever reason.

NWT Residential School Survivors, Descendants Head to Edmonton for Papal Visit | UKTN News – UK Time News

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