Compilation Tape One

1997, colour, English

TAPECODE 3079.00


Thirty years is a long time, but it seemed like only yesterday to Rick Tailfeathers who attended the St. Paul Anglican Church, located on the Blood reserve, in Southern Alberta - Canada. The school was home to no less the 1500 Indian students, from 1924 to 1969. It was at Blackfoot crossing in 1877, that the first agreement for Indian education was made. This agreement was known as Treaty #7, made between representatives of Queen Victoria of England and the Blackfoot, Peigan, Blood, Sarcee and Stony tribes. This historic agreement guaranteed (among other things) education for the Indians. What type of education was another matter.

Hers is a story of triumph and tragedy, of hope and despair, of faith lost and regained. Hers is a story of great personal achievement. Most of all, this is a story of courage. Ernestine thought she was a nobody. Leading a very tragic life, this women turned to alcohol as her salvation. She lived in the streets. She searched for an answer. Out of fifteen children in her family, only four survived to maturity. At age nine, her native language lost to the convent education, she had to leave school to take care of her ailing mother, four year old brother and baby sister. She was destined to follow countless trapline woman who had gone before her. She eventually married, had nineteen children, and was beaten by her husband. She eventually left for the city, only to find utter despair and loneliness.

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