Cowichan elders share residential school stories with RCMP

Presentation discussed Kuper Island and St. Catherine’s schools, Nanaimo Indian Hospital

Cowichan Tribes elders and residential school survivors Genevieve and Alex Johnny receive gifts from Cpl. Jeremy Evans and Cst. Bert Calvo of Indigenous Policing Services following a presentation on Aug. 12. (Submitted by North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP)

Cowichan Tribes elders and residential school survivors Genevieve and Alex Johnny receive gifts from Cpl. Jeremy Evans and Cst. Bert Calvo of Indigenous Policing Services following a presentation on Aug. 12. (Submitted by North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP)

Five Cowichan Tribes elders and residential school survivors shared their stories with members and staff from local law enforcement in a moving presentation earlier this month.

Genevieve Johnny and her husband Alex Johnny, and fellow elders Peter Johnny, Daryl George and Clifford George shared their tragic personal experiences from the Kuper Island Residential School, St. Catherine’s Indian Day School and Nanaimo Indian Hospital with members and staff from the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP, Victim Services, Cowichan Probation and other members of the community on Aug. 12.

READ MORE: Cowichan Tribes’ members share heart-wrenching stories of their youth

“Several guests were in tears while listening to the traumatic treatment each elder endured and the impact they live with today,” said Sgt. Trevor Busch, operations support NCO of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment.

Patrick Kelly, a member of the Leq’á:mel First Nation near Chilliwack, joined the presentation virtually to help educate guests about the importance of reconciliation and building relationships in indigenous communities.

“This presentation was incredibly powerful and impactful to our members,” said Cpl. Jeremy Evans of North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP Indigenous Policing Services. “We appreciate the bravery and honesty of each of the elders who presented here today; this presentation will be incorporated into training new members of the detachment so they will have a better understanding of what Cowichan Tribes members in this community have been through.”

Evans and his Indigenous Policing Services colleague, Const. Bert Calvo, presented all the speakers with gifts, including an RCMP blanket and a carved wooden eagle feather, representing friendship and appreciation.

READ MORE: More than 160 unmarked graves found near former residential school on Penelakut

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