Telling Our Stories:
Story telling is the Shuswap
way of passing our history
to the next generations
The Cariboo Indian Residential School (CIRS), also "St. Joseph's Mission", also "The Mission" and later the "Cariboo Indian Student Residence" all were the one and the same. We mostly called it the "Mission". It was located only four miles (six and a half kilometers) from my reserve of Sugar Cane, but it could just as well be a thousand. We were there for ten months of every year, by law, and we seldom saw our parents.
Someone, from the city of Williams Lake, just recently asked me, "What was so wrong with the residential school, wasn't life there better than what you had on the reserve?, Didn't you have better food and living conditions"? Another commented, "You know, I grew up in Williams Lake all of my life and I never knew that there was that kind of school so close to here".
It has taken me many years to decide to write anything about my experience at the "Mission".
2. Sunday walks
3. Running away
5. Praying and Church services
6. Movie nights and dances.
7. Segregation - boys and girls.
9. Cattle trucks.
10. Cow pellets and tar.
11. Sports - Sanity saving activities