Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Our Mohawk Councils Failed to Protect the Residential School Children


The Mohawk Institute Residential School operated in Ontario, Canada, between 1831 and 1970. The Woodland Cultural Centre is now located on the grounds. Photo: Illustratedjc

Where once the Mohawk Nation exercised its authority over 11,000,000 acres of territory from the St.Lawrence River to the Delaware, a land which included all of the magnificent hunting grounds of the Adirondack Mountains, a region of beauty and natural riches, occupied by a people of power and influence whose technologies and philosophies forever changed the world-these people of strength, intelligence and confidence-now diminished to a condition in which they willfully surrendered their children to the horrors of the residential-boarding school system.

We as Mohawks on the Akwesasne territory located 100 km southwest of Montreal knew nothing of our remarkable heritage when we were students at the St. Regis Catholic School. The Sisters of St. Anne and the parish priest, a Mohawk Jesuit, impressed upon us the oppressive guilt because, they alleged, our ancestors had burnt, clubbed or tortured to death nine Catholic priests and laypersons-the North American Martyrs and only by the act if submission were were saved from eternal damnation.

These teachings and attendant literature almost eclipsed the truth, We would learn later, through the intrepid work of Ray Fadden-Tenahatorens, a Mohawk instructor in a public school on the "American" side of the reservation that there was another version.


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