I was cc’d on a handwritten letter from a Mrs. Bernice Logan from Tangier, Nova Scotia this past week. This is definitely the first time that my name has been sandwiched between CTV’s Lloyd Robertson and CBC’s Peter Mansbridge.
Here is an excerpt from Mrs. Logan’s five-page letter addressed to Felicia Yap from ATV Halifax, regarding Indian Residential Schools and boarding schools:
All aboriginal children were not forced into boarding schools. Those who attended boarding schools were there because 1) they were orphans, 2) they came from broken or dysfunctional homes, 3) they lived in isolated areas of Canada where no schooling was available, 4) most importantly were there because their family wanted them to go.
It is simply not true, Felicia, that the government and the churches went out and “grabbed” them from their homes and “tried to beat the Indian out of them.” I can only reiterate over and over but you choose not to believe me then I must let things be.
Mrs. Logan wants to change the perception of the residential schools, and has established the Association of Former Indian Residential School Workers. A few bad apples have sullied the reputation of hardworking staff, she says.
Mrs. Logan was a staff member at two residential schools in the 1950s, one in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, the other in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. You can read her short biography in the Algoma University Archives.