Bernard Nadjiwo says he had a rough time at St. Charles Garnier’s school for boys. “I was glad to get out. They were strict for no reason,” says the 89-year-old. “A boy was sick in his bed and there was a finishing nail behind his head. (A man) came in and jammed his head against it and it went into his scalp. He walked away and left him there.” This was one of the things Nadjiwo remembers about his time at the residential school in Spanish. He was one of about 300 former students attending the second reunion of Native students who once attended St. Charles Garnier’s and St. Joseph’s.
The first reunion was held in 1988 where 400 students turned out. Erected in the early 1900s, and run by Jesuits, St. Peter Claver’s School, later named St. Charles Garnier housed 180 boys and St. Joseph’s held 150 girls. Only St. Joseph’s remains standing.Last week, surviving students, along with family, friends, mental health workers, counsellors, elders and grandparents took part in some of the workshops, healing ceremonies and other events held over the weekend. Memory stone One of the first big things was the unveiling of a monument on Friday. It was erected on the southeast corner of the property on Garnier Road where St Joseph’s residential school once stood.
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