John Elliot, went to the Mohawk Institute from 1947-1952.
In the Virtual Tour of the former building, when asked why it’s important to Save the Evidence he says “Everybody has a plaque, but not everybody has a building.”
John was initially sent there for truancy, and he jokes that he still hasn’t found out what truancy means. When he arrived at the school he was at a Grade 3 level, and when he left 5 years later he was only in Grade 5.
John was known as the “Runner”.
Every year on Christmas he would run away, no matter if he was punished or put into solitary confinement. When asked what was the hardest part of it all he said, “Late at night, everything would be quiet, and I would hear the train. That whistle would make me feel so lonesome. So I’d just get up, and I’d be gone. Didn’t know where I was going, just gone.”
Recently John Elliot attended Santee Smith’s performance of The Mush Hole, and he was asked to go on stage. When the students in the audience recognized him, they came up to speak with him after. John shared how good it felt to know that they had listened and remembered him.
It was only recently John started telling his story and was surprised at how many people didn’t know anything about Residential Schools. “I thought everyone knew,” said John.
“Everybody has a plaque, but not everybody has a building.” – John Elliot
With growing awareness of this dark part of Canada’s history, John is glad that people finally want to know about it, and he encourages everyone to support the Campaign. “If you walk through the building you can feel it. I’ve never felt anything from a plaque. We have to save the building.”
This story was featured in our November Edition of the Save the Evidence Newsletter.
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The Woodland Cultural Centre wants to say nya:węh/niá:wen to our giving community for your generosity on #GivingTuesdayCA. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for your continued support of the Centre and the work we do! Executive Director Heather George writes “Our supporters and donors have once again displayed their generosity and that they, like all of us at Woodland, are passionate about cultural reclamation, preservation, and celebration. Your support of our language department is an act of true kindness and love. Our languages are so much more than words on paper – language frames deep philosophical and relational understandings that help all of us engage in kinder, more compassionate ways and is an important part of our healing from the trauma of residential school. Like many not-for-profit organizations that participate in #GivingTuesday, charitable donations form an important part of our financial wellbeing and they are also an important indication that you believe in us and the work we do. Wa’tkwanonhwerá:ton’ (I to you all, sending forth embracing, celebratory, good energy)”Thanks to your generous contributions we were able to raise $25,352 in support of the preservation of Hodinohsho:ni languages and the important revitalization work being done at Woodland. Nya:węh/Niá:wen to the Dufresne-Ray Family Fund at Hamilton Community Foundation, which for the fourth consecutive year in a row has matched the first $5,000 of your donations. We are so grateful to have your continued support and generous contribution. To find out how you can support Woodland, visit our website: woodlandculturalcentre.ca/support-us/ #OnHeritage #OntarioHistory #Indigenous #IndigenousVoices #IndigenousArt #IndigenousEvents #FirstNations #FN#IndigenousKnowledge #IndigenousCulture #BrantOnt #TruthandReconciliation ... See MoreSee Less