LETTERS: Former Mindemoya High School student recalls “poison of hatred”

Silence kills

To the Expositor:

I applaud the M’Chigeeng Chief and Council for strongly addressing this situation at Manitoulin Secondary School. I wish there was someone standing with me when I started high school in 1964 in Mindemoya High School.

The poison of hatred was there. I recall being called “whore,” a word I did not know the meaning of except that it could not be something good. I began to experience low grade depression. My identity was attacked with the insults, spitting and watching this happening to other Native students. I could not talk about this, especially with my parents. It was too painful. I did complain to Indian Affairs and asked to transfer to North Bay, which did happen. I completed two years of high school in Mindemoya. The other Native student quit by Thanksgiving which left me alone in the class. I reported that students were not graduating from the local public school because of the racism and lack of support.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Isadore Day and pointed out to him that the underlying cause of deaths in Thunder Bay was due to racism. Silence kills.

Do not let the young people carry this. There is nothing wrong with them but that society has dysfunctional people in it.

If one Native person is charged than the non-Native students should be charged also.

The school board should pay up for not keeping our students safe. 

Keep our students talking within the First Nation community.

Julie Debassige

M’Chigeeng