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Portrait of the Grandmother

3:37 min. - Portrait of Evelyne, presentation to Laura of her grandmother.


Evelyne St-Onge - I was born in Moisie. Moisie is a village on the mouth of the Moisie River. Innu and non-Natives lived together back then. I lived there till the age of 5. When I was 5, we moved to Mani-utenam. All the Innu living in Moisie moved to Mani-utenam. When we arrived, there was... it was a start... there were a few houses and they built a residential school at the same time. I was 7. There were kids from the communities of La Romaine, Natashquan, Mingan, Bersimis and Schefferville. It enabled us to get to know each other. I went to the residential school for... three years. And when I was in Grade 4, I boarded at the residential school till Grade 11. I stayed there because at the time, my mother was asked to work for a priest in Schefferville. My mother was a teacher. She taught catechism, she was a translator and we went... the whole family moved to Schefferville. And we children boarded at the residential school so we could pursue our studies. That helped us hang on to something we had in common because we were learning another culture, it was completely different from what we had learned at home. When I started residential school, I didn't know a word of French. It was a separation from my parents, a separation from my language, a separation from all traditional activities. A separation from... a way of life that I had to live through. At the residential school, I remember also... I was humiliated by one of the nuns and... from that time on, I refused to speak. I never said another word. I was, like, rejected or abandoned or... I was very timid. Through school performances, I managed to survive all those humiliations, and that also followed me in my life for a long time. My father was a jolly fellow. He loved life, he was a story teller, a funny man. He worked a lot with... surveyors. He worked... he travelled a lot and... he worked all over Québec. Many people came to our home. We often had visitors, you might say, ethnologists or... anthropologists. We were kind of spied on and studied... for a long time.
Music - Kathia Rock

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