I went to hear the Russ Moses residential school memoir over lunch. His son, John Moses, read the paper for the 50th anniversary of its creation. The Kumik was pretty packed and Mr Moses gave some great context and raised some interesting questions. The paper was written at the request of Russ Moses's boss for the annual meeting of principals of residential schools. The got together to share best practices. At the end he gave his recommendations for how to improve things. It is easy to think that this is a new issue. It is not.
The memoir talks about the: chronic lack of food, despite living and working on a thriving farm; the resilience of the children, who continued with their ceremonies in secret and begged for food in town to survive; and the abuse and separation from siblings. John questioned the possibly overlooked role of these workers in the food security of Canada during the Second World War.
This session was both personally moving and professionally interesting as I learned a little bit more about the civil service in the 1960s.