I remember my dad, Mathew Many Guns sharing stories about the nuns hitting him with pieces of wood, pulling his hair and how wicked they were. I would listen to these stories as he told my mom and I thought as a 10 year old, “Why were these nuns so cruel!”
As National Indigenous Peoples Day draws closer and the news that 215 Indian children’s graves have been discovered at the Kamloops Indian Reservation School, all those memories of my dad’s and mom’s stories come back.
My dad became a well respected Minister of the Catholic Church, serving for the Holy Trinity church on the Siksika Nation until his passing in 1993.
My parents were strong Catholics, so I always wondered why they believed in the Catholic faith if what they experienced at the Blackfoot Residential School was so horrible.
My dad said “Those nuns were wicked.” He would say, if he saw one of those nuns as an adult he’d give them a good beating.
One story that stands out is one of the priests hitting my dad over the head with a hammer and as my dad explained, “blood gushed from his nose.” I remember thinking, “I wonder if that priest is burning in hell!”
My mother Cecile Many Guns never really talked about her experiences although she did say that she hated porridge because that’s all they would be served for breakfast, lunch and supper (porridge has no nutrition at all). Meanwhile the priests and nuns ate three course meals.
My dad would be so satisfied to finally hear that the truth has finally come out to the general public because for so long it was only known within our communities.
The discovery at Kamloops Indian Residential School has outraged everyone and I know my Father would be happy because the truth has finally been revealed.