I am not a number
Posted on March 10th, 2018

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge 

The following is a poem inspired by the text  I Am Not A Number by First Nations member Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer as well as research on the horrors of life in residential schools in the rarely discussed bleak years of Canadian history.
This is my story
But I am not a number
I am a human
Although  they thought I was a commodity
They removed me from my family
Took me to a residential school
They called it assimilation
Civilizing the savage
I faced dreaded events
Also witnessed the horror
I saw clergy  who worshiped  Christ
Sexually molesting my brothers and sisters
It was cultural genocide
They took away our identity
If we spoke our native language
We faced severe punishment
We underwent humiliation
Beatings and  piercing of tongues
Isolation and  shaving of heads
That took our dignity away
So this is my story
This is what they  did to us
It may not be in the history books
But this is what truly happened
I am old now
I am destitute and wasted
I am a survivor
But I am not a number

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