(08 09 12) Residential School Survivor tells KiHS his story via video conference

(08 09 12) KORI and KiHS facilitated a video conference between Patrick Bruyere, a residential school survivor and one of the First Nations runners who ran from St. Paul Minnesota to the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg in 1967 only to be turned away at the gates of the stadium, and high school students in remote and isolated First Nations communities in Ontario’s far north.  Bruyere was in Thunder Bay to premier Front Runners, a docudrama at the Bay Street Firm Festival about his story and that of her fellow First Nations runners who were denied their rightful role at the Pan Am Games.  The story is more than a sports story.  It’s the story about surviving the Indian residential school experience.  KiHS students in Poplar Hill, Weagamow and Fort William participated in the videoconference.  Bruyere has been permission to post his story for other students and teachers to access at later dates.

“Young people are lucky today.  After classes are done, high school students can go home and be with their parents.  When I was a high school student, I was in residential school.  When classes were done I went to a dorm.”  KiHS is a way to give more community members the opportunity to remain home and get a high quality education using the latest Information Communication Technologies.

KORI would like to thank Patrick Bruyere for his courage to share his story with students in KiHS classrooms in remote and isolated First Nations communities in Ontario’s far north.  We also thank Linda J. and Aaron H. and the rest of the staff and students of KiHS for making time in their busy academic schedule to hear Bruyere’s story.  Many thanks for Lyle J. at Knet who managed to make all the connections work on less than average notice.  This on-line gathering would not have been possible without him.  Thanks too go to Martina K. for stepping up and facilitating the video conference on very short notice.

And a special thanks to Laura Robinson, the journalist, playwright and film producer who had the courage to expand the boundary of sports reporting to include the stories beyond the scoreboard and the medal counts.  It was her decision to write this story many years ago that was the catalyst that brought all us all together today.

Niigaanibatowaad: Front Runner: A Memory Play About Residential School, Truth Telling and Reconciliation is distributed by the National Film Board (NFB).  For more information, email webcustserv@nfb.ca  

Watch the KORI web site for additional information about this event including an in-depth story by Rick Garrick and archived video segments from the video conference.