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Intergenerational impacts of residential schools, 1st steps of reconciliation

I am an intergenerational survivor. The term may not be a familiar one. That's because it's a relatively new way to describe the affects of a horrific chapter of Canadian history, one we are just learning about - the residential school era.

On Unreserved this week, Maeengan Linklater wants Manitoba to lead the way toward reconciliation

Anishinabe Maeengan Linklater wants Manitoba to lead the way toward reconciliation. He says the first step is to officially recognize Indian Residential Schools as a genocide. (Jillian Taylor/CBC)

I am a child of a residential school survivor.

Growing up, my mother often cried or raged or drank or disappeared into herself. She found it difficult to express affection and often I wondered what I had done wrong to make her the way she was.

It took me many years to learn that my mother's distance and self-destruction had nothing to do with me or how much she loves me. It was borne out of the abuse she suffered while she was growing up. Even though we are much closer now, our relationship is still a challenging one.

I am an intergenerational survivor.

The term may not be a familiar one. That's because it's a relatively new way to describe the affects of a horrific chapter of Canadian history, one we thankfully are learning more about  — the residential school era.

Last week the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report on the institutions that lasted over 100 years and caused irreparable harm to First Nations people and families. 

Those affects include high rates of addiction, abuse, violence, illness and death. Affects that are now only being connected to the schools.

The children and grandchildren of residential school survivors often bear the brunt of what previous generations suffered through. It is this trauma that many of us have found ourselves tangled in. Together we must find a way out.

On Unreserved this week

Anishinaabe man Maeengan Linklater wants Manitoba to lead the way toward reconciliation.

He says the first step is to officially recognize residential schools as a genocide. He's proposing the province recognize June 2 as Indian Residential School Genocide Reconciliation Memorial Day. 

Maeegnan talks about his personal reasons behind this proposal (read his full proposal below.)

And a support program in Iqaluit helps residential school survivors and their families first identify the trauma and how to deal with it. Psychologist Melanie Stubbing spoke to the CBC's Kevin Kablutsiak about how far-reaching this support program is.

Bear Witness, from A Tribe Called Red, chats about music, art and representation with Unreserved host Rosanna Deerchild. (Josh Lynn)
A Tribe Called Red has been bringing their brand of electronic powwow to cross-cultural audiences for the last few years. Each year their success has grown with the university and music festival audiences. Bear Witness chats about music, art and representation.

Winnipeg singer-songwriter Don Amero is busy touring his new album "Refined." Don has often been referred to as the hardest working musician in Manitoba. He stops by to chat about his new music and leaving the family behind when he hits the road.

Three-hundred paddles will be showcased this weekend in Prince Rupert, B.C. The paddles — important in West Coast cultures — will pull more than just canoes. As the CBC's Carolina de Ryk tells us they'll pull the past and the present together.

Most people buy a new outfit for graduation but one student at the University of Victoria wore something old — something 300 years old, in fact. Joye Walkus shares the story of her grandfather's blanket, which she wore to convocation after getting it out of a museum!

Plus music from J.C. Campbell, Digging Roots, Don Amero, and A Tribe Called Red.

Tune into CBC Radio One after the 5 p.m. news in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nunavut, and after the 4 p.m. news in Yukon and the N.W.T. for these stories and more on Unreserved. 

You can also listen on demand.​

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About the Author

Rosanna Deerchild

Rosanna Deerchild is the host of Unreserved on CBC Radio One. She's an award-winning Cree author and has been a broadcaster for almost 20 years — including stints with APTN, CBC Radio, Global and a variety of indigenous newspapers. She hails from O-Pipon-Na-Piwan Cree Nation, Man.

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