boarding school survivors

today i got a care package from the national native american boarding school healing coalition. some one sent me an app awhile back to request a package. at first i thought f that. i dont wanna remember boarding school.  i have done my best to block it out. then i thought why the hell not. while nothing can undo what i went thru in boarding school, it is nice to know there is someone out there who cares bout the young kids like me that were sent off to boarding school.

i forgot bout sending off for that package. i felt like oh well. it did say the first one thousand to reply. i figured i wasnt one of the thousand.  then today mary and i both got a package. i forwarded the app to her so she could apply too. i said wow we actually did get a package. we arent used to getting anything free. usually the ones at the front of the line get everything.

i opened the package. it had a card that said we love you. i checked out the literature. it was about the group that sent this package to boarding school survivors. i went thru the box. it had coffee, wild rice, a pair of socks, face masks, sage soap, sage lip balm,  a milk chocolate bar from NAFOA (my daughter belongs to that), a tanka bar (buffalo meat with cranberries), huckleberry jam and a bag of candy.

that wasnt all. it also had a coffee cup from the boarding school organization.  i got a bag with sage and a sprig of cedar. i lit some of the sage to honor their gift of it. and i got a devils club rub for a variety of ailments. there was a small bag of indian tea that looked like labrador tea. and i got a small tobacco bag. there was a bag of three sisters seeds in the box too.

we both got a fry bread mix package. i told mary to use it tonight. we had already planned on making spam and frybread sandwiches for the chiefs game. we had some at the sisseton pow wow. havent had any since. tomorrow we are going to drink some of the coffee for breakfast. my uncle said to use any gifts you get. i always do to remember he told me that.

after seeing all that was in the box i felt grateful. i thought i was great that there was an organization that focused on boarding school survivors. i do know now there is a national day–september 30th–to honor survivors. i bought an orange t shirt to wear on that day.

i remember once our tribe was gonna pay someone to come here to talk about boarding school. dont know what they were thinking.  too many on this rez have gone to boarding school. what could some one from some where else tell us. i read articles by people who havent been there but become spokespersons about it. they never got beatings from priests or nuns. nor were they shamed just for being indian so they dont really know what it feels like.

i was glad there was no christian symbols in the package. we had been indoctrinated in christianity at boarding school. we were forced to believe what they wanted us to believe. some super tradish indians today try to force what they believe on every one else. they cant even begin to understand some of us have already been thru that.

my wife went to a boarding school that has reunions. not the boarding school i went to. i ran across people i knew from there. we were glad to see each other still alive. we didnt reminisce about the old days at school. i met many others in bars. a lot of us became alcoholics and/or drug abusers. i met some when i work in prisons, they were doing time.  i met others in the militant days of aim.   most i knew had returned to native traditions. perhaps in defiance of boarding school. others i knew met violent deaths.

that box of goodies made me flash back thru the years. i remember much of the ugliness of the boarding school experience. but i know i survived that. i was glad someone cared.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *