mīnisa

Lebret

2020

20

Aug

mīnisa – a project by Kerry Benjoe

This project is on the last generation of residential school survivors, specifically those from the Indian residential school located in Lebret, Sask., Canada. ‘Last Generation’ refers to the time when the operation of the school was turned over to the Star Blanket Cree Nation from 1984 until it closed in 1998.

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18

Aug

History

Nicholas Flood Davin submitted a 17-page confidential report in Ottawa on March 14 of that same year, in which he recommended the federal government to implement a similar system in Canada.

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1995

03

Sep

"It almost feels like going back to home a little bit, but it's just part of where I grew up."

CHRIS MCDOUGALL

02

Sep

Chris McDougall

Chris attended the school during its final years of operation and was part of one of the last graduating classes.

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01

Sep

Chris’s Story

Chris attended was part of one of the last classes to graduate from the Lebret residential school, which was renamed White Calf Collegiate. From Garden Hill First Nation in northern Manitoba, his family moved frequently. They lived in Fort Qu’Appelle before moving to Sioux Lookout, Ont. when he was 13. It was not a healthy place and Chris as to go to Lebret despite having no prior knowledge of residential schools.

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1991

03

Sep

"It was a good change from what I had and what I was trying to get away from."

JASON YEW

02

Sep

Jason Yew

Jason Yew chose the Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School for his final year of high school to get away from the city and his family.

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01

Sep

Jason’s Story

Jason Yew attended the Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School for his final year of high school because it is where he chose to be. He always knew residential schools existed because he grew up in a subdivision next to the Muskowekwan Residential School and attended the nursery there as an infant. When he attended QIRS he was Jason Haviland.

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1990

16

Jun

QIRS - Lebret

Gerry’s Kids

In these clips, from a segment of the TV program ‘My Partners, My People,’ Wil Campbell visits QIRS in 1990.

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03

Feb

"I have nothing but good memories of my time in Lebret."

MARGARET BENJOE-STARBLANKET

02

Feb

Margaret Benjoe-Starblanket

Margaret attended QIRS for her final high school semester and noticed a big difference from the public school system.

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01

Feb

Margaret’s Story

Margaret Benjoe-Starblanket attended the Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School for her final semester of high school and looks back at that time in her life with fondness. She lived off-reserve and attended public school in Regina for most of her life, but was always curious about the residential school in Lebret.

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1983

06

Sep

"I always look back on my life and say that was the funnest time I had. It was so fun."

TONY BURGE

05

Sep

Tony Burge

Though Tony Burge had no experience with residential schools or Indigenous people before applying to be QIRS program director, after a few bumps it was the best time of his life.

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04

Sep

Tony Burge’s Story

Tony said working at QIRS was the best 17 years of his life. He is still in contact with many former students and some still stop and visit with him. Tony was angry when the decision was made to close the school because he knew how beneficial it was not only for the students but for the staff. He still believes the school was on the cusp of greatness when it was suddenly closed without a reason.

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03

Sep

"You have to have a big heart to be a child care worker. After 13 years, they were my kids."

CAROL LAVALLEE

02

Sep

Carol Lavallee

Carol, a residential school survivor, took a job at QIRS to be near her children, but stayed for 13 years because she loved her work.

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01

Sep

Carol’s story

Carol Lavallee, a residential school survivor, worked at several residential schools. She pursued employment at the schools only after the control was taken away from the churches in the 1970s and handed over to First Nations people. Her longest stint was 13 years at the Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School, from 1983 to 1996.

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1982

03

Sep

"For me it was a godsend. I don't think I would have finished school if wasn't for residential school."

OWEN LAVALLEE

02

Sep

Owen Lavallee

Owen Lavallee attended the Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School from 1982 until he graduated in 1991.

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01

Sep

Owen’s Story

Owen Lavallee attended the Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School for basically his entire life. He attended other residential schools before arriving in Lebret. He says it was one of the best times of his life. 

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1981

03

Sep

"I really loved the time with my fellow students. The bonds we had then, we still have today."

TONY STEVENSON

02

Sep

Tony Stevenson

Tony Stevenson, an advocate for residential school survivors, has mixed feelings about his time in Lebret.

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01

Sep

Tony Stevenson’s Story

Tony Stevenson attended the residential school in Lebret on and off for about 10 years. He was at the school when it was transitioning over to the Starblanket First Nation. Tony knows from experience life in residential school was not perfect. He is a long-time an advocate for residential school survivors. Tony believes his personal experience has helped him connect with the survivors. His memories of his time are bittersweet.

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