n. — Aboriginal
an Aboriginal person who attended a residential school.
Type: 1. Origin — In the UK and in other locations outside of Canada, residential school means a boarding school, sometimes one for children with disabilities (see OED-3, s.v. "residential school"). Because of the semantic change that the term has undergone in Canada, where it has come to denote a school for Aboriginal children who were forcibly taken from their communities, residential school survivor has been adopted to refer to the former students of these schools, who were often severely mistreated and abused. Since many have seen the effects of these schools as genocidal (see residential school), the term may have been formed by analogy with Holocaust survivor. The term residential school survivor also acknowledges the continued suffering experienced by former students of residential schools and their communities.
Internet domain searches indicate that residential school survivor is almost exclusively used in Canada (see Chart 1).
See also: residential school Sixties Scoop Truth and Reconciliation Commission reconciliation week reconciliation
- 1998  The woman who led one session was a residential-school survivor, part of that tragic group who had been torn from their homes and thrust into abusive institutions. "I realized that I grew up in a residential-school atmosphere, all the violence and abuse." But she struggled to find the positive, and managed to build, even on this.
- 2003  Another survivor, Geronimo Henry from the Six Nations reserve, told the group that survivors of residential schools find they are caught in a vicious cycle. His own experience at a school from age five to 16, never going home for visits, left him not knowing how to care or share or with any knowledge of his language or culture, he said. He passed that dysfunction to his own kids and they will pass it on unless the cycle is broken.
Henry started The Lost Generations -- an organization for victims of residential schools, in the late 1990s.
"I hope some day we can change it to 'found,' " he said. "Take the 'lost' out and put in 'found.' We native people, we should learn our language, culture and ceremonies."
Karen Elijah is one of those daughters of a residential school survivor caught in the cycle to which Henry referred. Elijah, from the Oneida Nation near London, told those gathered about how her mother's school experience affected her.
- 2008  Ever since Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized earlier this month for the abuse of aboriginal children in residential schools, that couple have been in Stewart's thoughts.
"I hope they feel better now," said Stewart, who works with Anishnabeg Outreach in Guelph.
The official apology gave special significance to annual Aboriginal Day celebrations at Victoria Park this weekend, she said.
"I'm happy the apology came," said Stewart, whose father was a residential school survivor. "It will bring awareness about the schools and how they ruined lives."
- 2013  As of March 2002 we formally became the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. Since 1994, the Project evolved into a sub-organization of the Summit, with five B.C. regional representatives comprising the board. Each board member is either an Indian residential school survivor or an inter-generational survivor. The board was supported by a staff of 16 professionals, most of whom are themselves either Indian residential school survivors or inter-generational survivors.
- 2013  "We are all survivors. Every one of us survive in different ways to bury what hurts you most," he said. "I had anger. I tried as best as I could not to let the anger take over, but I've said and done hurtful things."
He added he's heard it said forgiveness will set you free.
"That's a hard thing to deal with as a residential school survivor, or if you've been abused."
- 2016  One of Canada's oldest residential school survivors died Monday. Respected Mi'kmaw elder Elsie Basque would have turned 100 on May 12. The Saulnierville resident was a pioneer in Nova Scotia, credited in her obituary as the first native teacher to teach in a non-native school.
Chart 1: Internet Domain Search, 27 Aug. 2013