The first day in The Literacy Circle, a new Indigenous Elders’ literacy program at Vancouver Island University, meant a new experience for Elder student ‘U’nihi-ya (Catherine) Jim: For the first time, she felt encouraged to pursue her education.
“[Years ago] I went back to school and did some upgrading, and when I was doing that, the instructor told me that he didn’t think I was ever going to amount to anything except being a housekeeper. And that discouraged me, so I quit,” she says.
“I’ve always been discouraged by the words that people have said to
me when I did try to go back [to school]. And right here, it’s like,
‘We’re here to support you.’ Wow. I’ve never heard that,” says Jim, who
is a day school survivor from Cowichan Tribes and is currently
undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.
This story shares information about residential “schools.” The
Indian Residential School Survivor Society’s Crisis Line can be reached
any time at 1-866-925-4419.