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Indigenous Arts & Stories - Their Stories Must Be Told

Their Stories Must Be Told

2014 - Art Winner

Brianne McKay

Eel Ground, NB
Eel Ground First Nation
Age 17

Author's Statement

I chose to paint a subject that in my opinion, does not receive the recognition that it deserves; residential schooling. My piece is called Their Story Must be Told. I picked this title because I want to encourage survivors to tell their story to add to the already little history of aboriginal people. I think the assimilation of aboriginal children isn't talked about enough, especially in schools. I have heard about the holocaust in nearly every grade since elementary school and residential schools mentioned only once or twice. As an important part of Canadian history, I think it should be treated as so. I wanted to paint a picture to honor the survivors and deceased who were apart of it and to encourage people to learn about the history of genocide against aboriginal people.
At the bottom of my painting I wanted to depict the darkness and sorrow that the went on inside the residential schools. The crosses represent the thousands of First Nations children who died in them, although not all were buried with crosses. Many had their bodies hidden and disposed of.
Above shows the children reunited with each other in a lighter, happier, place; heaven. An angel has her arms outstretched to comfort them and welcome them home. I painted their clothes white to symbolize their innocence and purity.