Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Artifact from School for Canadian Aboriginal First Nations Student Found

Choutla Residential School was a school for Canadian Aboriginal First Nations students from across the Yukon. Established near the capital city of Whitehorse by the Anglican Church, it opened in 1911 and closed in the 1970s. Recently, Geraldine Greyeyes of Saskatchewan found a wooden box at a garage sale that bears the inscription "Choutla Residential School." She wants to give it back to its owner.

"I saw the little box sitting there, and it was by itself, and I know that I could feel that the little box wanted to be taken out of there," she said. "Somehow or another, there was a communication between my heart and that little box."

The box also has a large emblem, a Latin inscription and the date 1952 on the top. Phil Gatnesby, former Choutla school Canadian Aboriginal First Nations student, believes if the box belongs to a former student, it could bring back painful memories. "I think we have a tendency to sort of romanticize. I do," he said. "I'm not really sure it would be so wonderful for the person, but maybe it would be. I hope it would be."

Greyeyes is aware of the memories that the box might bring to Canadian Aboriginal First Nations students. "Maybe they'll just put it away for a while, and once they work through their own history, it may be very valuable and positive," she said. She said the box could fill in a missing part of a person's history.

For wonderful native artwork, see Canadian Aboriginal First Nations Art.

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