Healing the Legacy
Lilyanna McKay, 17, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation.
As part of SEVEN Youth Media Network’s Truth and Reconciliation project, four youth spoke to Wawatay New’s Lenny Carpenter on the intergenerational effects of the residential school system. They talked about how it impacted them in areas such as language, alcoholism, abuse and parenting.
While Lilyanna’s parents did not attend residential school, they suffered from impacts of their parents going as well as other family members.
Lilyanna and her siblings faced the intergenerational effects through abuse and then in a series of suicides.
Her family and community’s story was told in the 2010 documentary, Third World Canada.
On how residential school affected her…
“I guess just the way I grew up, how my family was abused in the past, and I guess how it was repeating itself.
My parents got really depressed and didn’t know how to deal with it so they turned to alcohol and started abusing us. (It started when) I was young, so right from the start.
From what happened to our grandparents, (the impact) just started going down from generation to generation.”
On the suicides and how it affected her…
“My biological father committed suicide when I was 10 months old, and my step father committed suicide April 1, 2006. And then my biological mom committed suicide on my 12th birthday.
“I got really depressed and wasn’t sure how to handle it. I would cut myself probably 100 times a day. It just helped me feel better.”
On how it affects all First Nations people…
“It still does impact us. We lost our language, we lost hope. I think it just destroyed us.”
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