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We Stand Together: Gerry (Gramma) Shingoose

Warning: This post contains details some readers may find distressing.

On May 27, the First Nations community was shaken when the remains of 215 First Nations children were found in unmarked graves on what was once a Catholic-run Residential School in Kamloops, B.C. Some of the children were as young as three years old. On June 24, 2021, the discovery of 751 unmarked graves was announced near a former Saskatchewan residential school.

These are the voices of our First Nations pained by the loss, frustrated by systemic racism and oppression, and the stories of survivors.


Gerry (Gramma) Shingoose is a Residential School survivor attending Muscowequan Residential School from 1962 to 1971. When she heard the news about these children, it reopened old wounds, a painful reminder of the emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse she endured.

“It triggered me, my children, and grandchildren. My memories and triggers have been more frequent than before since the news came out. It could have been me, my sister, or my brother. At Muscowequan Residential School, 64 children were found after it closed. The impact of these 215 children is tremendous on a survivor, including me. It also verifies, amplifies, and validates the stories we’ve been sharing, but nobody listened.  

For Gramma Shingoose, reconciliation is accountability from the Federal Government and Catholic Church and acknowledging their involvement in these atrocities. Once that has taken place and ceremonies have been performed for the spirits of these children, true healing can begin. 

Although it may seem like events like these are a relic of the past, the last Residential School in Canada closed in 1996. The recent trauma many faced in these schools affected their lives and the lives of their families.

Hear from other voices of Manitoba: https://u-channel.ca/we-stand-together-voices-of-manitoba/


Indian Residential School Survivors Society

A helpline for residential school survivors can be reached at 1-866-925-4419.

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society is a British Columbia-based organization providing services to residential school survivors for over 20 years. It started by helping residential school survivors navigate the court systems and has since expanded to help residential school survivors and engage in community education for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. You can donate here.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of U Multicultural.

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