March 6, 2012

Inuit girl at residential school

by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton

Eight-year-old Olemaun longed to attend the outsiders' school, where she would learn to read. Her father and sister tried to dissuade her, but she didn't understand. Led inside by a hooked-nose nun, Olemaun's braids were cut off, her clothes taken away, and her name changed to Margaret. Then she was put to work with the other girls. They were forced to clean floors, empty waste buckets, and work in the hospital. But Margaret had a strong will, and found ways to protest the cruel treatment. When she left the school two years later, she vowed she wouldn't go back. But her younger sisters were curious, so she returned in order to protect them.

An enlightening look at one girl's experiences at a residential school. 

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