Blackfoot senior pens residential school experience book | Pro IQRA News

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About two years ago, Blackfoot senior Christina Fox was creating a freehand appliqué design and watching it transform into a familiar little girl in a red dress with long black hair.

“I looked at him and I thought, ‘Oh my god, that’s me,'” Fox said. “It brought tears and I knew I had to do something about it, I had to move on.”

He started taking notes and reminiscing about his days at the residential school.

On her first day at the residential school, she brought a suitcase full of traditional clothes and toys to share with the new friends she hoped to meet.

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“When my men left and there was a knock on the door and my suitcase – I never saw it again,” Fox said. “My beautiful hair was on the floor.

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“I was heartbroken in so many ways.”

Her notes soon reflected her entire residential school experience.

“I will never fully recover. I won’t,” Fox said. “My journey is one I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”

Fox has been an elder in residence at St. Martha’s School Children’s First Nation Learning Center in Lethbridge for more than 20 years.

During this time, she shared her experience with her kindergarten teacher friend, Laurie McIntosh, who encouraged her to share her story.

Fox said My suitcase: Nii Sookayis is a book for learning life skills. It includes a Blackfoot dictionary, her childhood photos and appliqué designs.

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After hitting publish on Amazon last week, her book became the number one bestseller in the children’s book category in the Canadian history category.

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“This is a wonderfully generous gift from an elder survivor of trauma in our community; It’s a true story and belongs on every bookshelf in Canada,” said McIntosh.

Fox and McIntosh hope to one day see this book become a school curriculum in residential schools.

“Maybe they can, the world out there can stop telling them why they can’t handle it,” Fox said. “I want them to hear me, I want them to see me as a survivor.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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