Letter from residential school survivor


Many victims are never compensated

I would like to comment on the letter in Nunatsiaq News on May 29 by a person whose name was withheld, "Are the right "victims" getting compensation?"

I fully understand what you are experiencing; anger and hurt. That is what I've experienced in the past couple of years. My older sister was sent out when I was about two years old, and my mother never saw my sister again until 30 years later.

My mother was angry for all those years, so that I was forever being called ugly compared to my older sister. I was told that my sister could have done a better job at anything that I've ever tried to do around the home and that my mom was never happy with me.

I tolerated that crap from the time I started remembering until the mid-1960s. What did that do to me? I learned never to trust anybody because someone who was supposed to love me hurt me. This distrust continued throughout my life until the best friend I have in life now told me 19 years ago that I have been badly hurt so badly and then continued to support me to get help.

I've learned to deal with it but things still hurt. For all those years that my sister went to school, she got paid for them and what did I get for the abuse I got all those years?

When I had my son, when I just turned 15 years old, no one helped my financially. My son's father was making money, but not once did he offer to send me money to help me and my son.

My son was born in Yellowknife and then sent to Edmonton for treatment. I was sent back home. A few months went by and I finally talked to the area administrator to ask when my son was coming home to me.

That area administrator said "we decided to adopt him to a very nice family in Edmonton because you're too young to look after him and your mother is too old to take care of him."

The area administrator is now collecting a nice pension from the Government of Canada with no accountability of of the abuse he inflicted on me back in 1966.

Then a single male minister asked me to come to his house to wash and iron the choir outfits on weekly basis. He decided he was going to rape me, but he never got the chance because I ran out of his house.

He's collecting a lovely pension from Government of Canada today, as he quit the ministry and went to work for the government. I wonder if he felt he was not worthy of being a minister.

People learn to go on with life with anger in their hearts; That hurt and anger never leaves; cope with it.

I tried to become a property assessor with the GNWT in the 1980's as a "trainee." Anger started to build up when the boss insisted that I take minutes at our weekly meetings "because I'm a female."

I talked to the union about it as I was paying dues to the union. They checked into it and told me they feel the government did nothing wrong. The union person did not even show any support for me.

My answer to the lady who wrote "Are the right ‘victims' getting compensation?" is this: definitely not.

Abuse of any sort is not acceptable. If you question something and feel that it's not right, take action and talk to somebody, don't ever let these people get the upper hand on you.

Remember. If you harbour bitterness, happiness will go somewhere else. I still have lots of bitterness at the government. I don't want to die before I stop hating them and I still have lots of hate and anger for some individuals.

I am including my name because I am a person, an individual and I have a name.

Martha Toka-Peet
Winnipeg

Published in Nunatsiq News http://www.nunatsiaq.com/opinionEditorial/letters.html

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17 June 2009

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