Torture and abuse of Canadian Schoolchildren


H. Causing Bodily and Mental Harm

They were always getting us to fight each other and rat each other out. The older boys all wanted to be like the whites and carry their own leather strap to beat up anyone they wanted. Everybody knew that you could get attacked or molested at any time. When you grow up around that you let it take over you because there's nothing else you can do. There was nowhere to hide in residential school. You either became a slave or a sellout.- Harriett Nahanee, December 1, 1995

The entire Indian residential school system was a single, enduring act of violence designed to cause permanent bodily, spiritual and mental harm to its inmates. This essential reality can become lost in its details: a reality that is ongoing because it has forever marked its victims. For example, Harry Lucas, a Vancouver Island Indian who endured the Kuper Island Catholic School as a boy, was arrested many times as a man on charges of indecency and prostitution. As he explained in 2006, as part of his appearance in the documentary film Unrepentant,

I didn't know why I liked dressing up like a woman and doing it like I was one until I started my therapy and I remembered what went on in Kuper Island The nuns used to dress me up like a girl and prepare me for the priests by shoving broom handles and plungers up my ass. You had to go along with them or you'd be beaten to death. I saw it happen to other boys who they did the same thing to I just blanked out after the first time and never fought them after that. Now I can't look at myself in the mirror.(81) This kind of psychological trauma was as severe as the physical, and started the moment children

were abducted by school clergy or the RCMP. According to Larry Lavoie, a Cree elder from Alberta,

was just eight years old, which would have been in 1959. They grabbed me right out of my mother's arms and locked me in a closed grain truck, shoved in like cattle with lots of other boys. We drove a hundred miles to the Ermineskin rez school in that sweltering and dusty tank and by the end some of the boys were dead. But that wasn't the worst. The first time I cried for my mom a nun slapped me around and tied fish twine to my penis. She'd tighten it whenever I cried. Sister Denise her name was. She loved to smash our heads against concrete pillars. My cousin Jackie died that way. He went crazy first. The Sister told me after Jackie died, 'I'd do that to every one of you stinking little savages if I could.(82)

According to church punishment logsentered into court by government lawyers during the first lawsuit of 1996, routine tortures were used against children as young as four by staff and clergy in all of the denominational Indian schools.

Based on this evidence, Judge Donald Brenner of the British Columbia Supreme Court made the remark that the Indian residential schools were part of a system of institutionalized torture and pedophilia.(From his judgment of June 6, 1998)

The evidence reveals that these routine tortures used on residential school children by all of the churches included the following acts: (83)

Shaving of heads with dull razors, beatings with brass knuckles, leather straps and pieces of metal, floggings with a whip, rape by individuals and organized gangs, confinement in small closets for days without food and water, forcing students to eat regurgitated or rancid food, outright starvation,

electric shocks to the head, genitals and gums, forcing students to throw their pet mice into furnaces or beat their pets to death, extracting or filling teeth without painkillers, shoving needles and nails stuck through tongues, hands and limbs, forcing students to stand naked in the snow, the use of manacles and public stocks, confining students for days in the rain or snow, forcing students to watch others being raped, beaten, tortured and killed, and forcing them to commit these acts on others and then burying their dead bodies.

This is but a sample of the organized atrocities inflicted on residential school children, as elaborated in Appendix One. These tortures were not random but calculated and prescribed, and were as prevalent in 1960 as they were in 1930.

For example, at the June 1998 IHRAAM hearings, two different school survivors from the same United Church's Alberni school Harriett Nahanee and Dennis Tallio - described having their teeth extracted without painkillers by school dentists more than thirty years apart. Alberni school staffer Marion MacFarlane confirmed in 1998 that local Port Alberni dentists were given the option of cutting their cost by not using Novocain when they yanked or filled our students' teeth.And a fourth eyewitness, Alia Point, says the same practice went on at her Chehalis reserve near Sechelt in the 1980's. (Figure 108)

Records confirm this torturous practice on children, and that is actually spanned at least over a half century. For documents from the Indian Affairs archives contain a report by a dentist, Dr. E. Fraser Allen of Vancouver, dated May, 1924, in which Allen carefully annotates the names and ages of those Indian children to whom he administered anesthetic when he pulled or filled their teeth, and thosw whom he denied painkiller. There were seventy of them, aged between seven and fourteen years, and they were all inmates at the St. Paul's Catholic Indian school in North

Vancouver. (Figures 109 and 110)

Electric chairs were used in the basements of the United Churchs Alberni residential school and in Fort Albany, Ontario in the St. Anne's Catholic school to punish children and to entertain visiting dignitaries, to quote a Globe and Mail article of October 21, 1996. Two surviving victims of the St. Anne's school chair described their ordeal. (Figure 111)

In their words, as cited in the Globe and Mail article:
They would put children in it if they were bad. The nuns used it as a weapon. It was done to me on more than one occasion. They would strap your arms to the metal arm rests, and it would jolt you and go through your system.
(Mary Anne Nakogee-Davis, tortured in 1963)

I was six years old. There was no sense of volunteering or anything Once the thing was cranked up, I could feel the current going through me Your legs are jumping up, and everyone was laughing. (Edmund Metatawabin, tortured at the same facility in 1953)

For these same dental and electrical tortures to be inflicted on children decades a part in the same facilities indicates a standardized method and policy regarding discipline and punishment and apparently, entertainment for white people rather than simply being random sadistic acts by individuals. It was an accepted norm in the residential schools to torture children, even to death.

The daily mental torture was, as Harriett Nahanee described earlier, just as brutal and destructive in the long run; especially when inflicted on helpless and dependent children at a formative age. Once

again, there was a purpose behind this assault: to not only psychologically break children into obedient slaves, but to identify and mold those from among them who would one day act as the assimilatedpolitical stooges of the government and corporate interests.

Turning native children into these kinds of ab-originals- those not from an original group, according to Webster's Dictionary involved a sophisticated and systematic brainwashing program requiring unrelenting terror and trauma. In that sense, the Indian residential schools were not simply extermination centers, but heavily monitored re-education camps to weed out expendablefrom salvageableIndians, and to train the latter as future neo-colonial puppets.
Experimental Mind Control, MKULTRA and the residential schools

School survivors' therapists have long pointed out the prevalence of Stockholm Syndromecharacteristics among many of their patients, whereby those who suffered the most extreme tortures and deprivations in residential schools nevertheless identify with and even defend the system, and avoid confronting their torturers. But this tendency is part of a larger pathology deliberately engendered by church and state in these schools, especially after World War Two, when military researchers flocked to the isolated and secure environments of residential schools to exploit the perfect young test subjects interned there.

In hindsight, the creation of a large pool of such human guinea pigs, preconditioned into split personalities by the degree of their torture at a young age, became a Cold War purpose behind the residential schools. After 1952, the CIA MKULTRA program required such a population of prepared test subjects for their extensive research into mind control and how to fashion unquestioned obedience in soldier and civilian populations. For its experimental human fodder, the Agency drew heavily on captured populations found in prisons, asylums and Indian schools. (84)

Two documented examples of this military-led research involving Indian children include the Sara Huntercase and the activity of Nazi-trained medical researchers at the Kuper Island Catholic School before and after World War Two. The Sara Hunter story is told separately in the book by that name - listed in our Bibliography and is a remarkable account of the extent to which Nazi researchers penetrated Canadian political and military circles during the 1950s and 60s. For our immediate purposes, the Kuper Island account is most relevant.

In 1932, responsibility for the Catholic Indian School on Kuper Island on the west coast was given to the Montfort Order, a Dutch-German Catholic sect with ties to fascist movements in Europe. In January 1939, the Montforts brought to Kuper Island a group of about a dozen German speaking doctors, according to eyewitness Dennis Charlie, who survived what happened next.

They took us out in batches of twenty five, boys and girlsrecounted Dennis in an interview in June of 2005 on his Penelakut Indian reservation near Duncan, British Columbia.
I was ten at the time. There were boys in our group a lot younger than that. They marched us into the infirmary and lined us up so the Germans could examine us. The German doctors weren't from around there, they needed translators to ask us questions Then they gave us injections in our chest. Two needles, near each nipple. We started falling down right away. It made us sick, dizzy, some of us passed out Two of us got so sick they died later from the shots. One of them was my friend Sandy Mitchell. But they took him over to some hospital in Vancouver and studied him before they died. Another boy told me he'd seen Sandy on the ward with him: he was all bloated up and oozing some bad shit. But they told us he died of pneumonia.

Soon after this incident, three boys who had been injected ran away from the school, and local police were informed of the experiments. Unusually, the police refused to return the boys to the school, and a week later all of the Montfort Brothers resigned and were replaced by the Oblates. The German doctors vanished until 1947, when some of them appeared again. Arnold Sylvester, who had been one of the boys in the original group injected, recognized one of the doctors living in the town of Duncan. But the tight security around Kuper Island prevented any further inquiries.

While not going into detail about the Sara Hunter case, it is relevant to note that one of the children who was killed at the Calgary air force base when Sara was held there from 1956 to 1958 was a boy named Sandy Mitchell: the name of the Kuper island boy supposedly killed at a Vancouver hospital. According to Sara, among the test subjects tortured and killed by the head doctor at the Calgary base were lots of local Indian kids, and some even were brought from the west coast from some Catholic school there.(86) The doctor's official name was Major Bob Armstrong, and he carried the SS tattoo designation 091374 SS. (87)

On October 2, 1998, shortly after the IHRAAM Tribunal, Kevin Annett received an anonymous phone call from a man who claimed to be a retired member of the Canadian civil service. The call came from an unlisted number. At one point the recorded conversation reads:

Caller: You're just scratching the surface but it still has a lot of people here concerned.

Kevin: Concerned about what exactly?
Caller: You had some people from Kuper Island at your thing (undecipherable) can't let them talk about the German connection.

Kevin: What connection?
Caller: the whole thing, uh the gentlemen's agreement, with the Americans and the churches. They

provided the kids, the Force brought them to us Kevin: By Force you mean the RCMP?

Caller: Yeah, that's correct. Kuper Island was isolated and perfect. Lots of the DND (Department of National Defense) research money went there. And to Calgary, the Lincoln Park thing you mentioned, that was bang on.

Kevin: With Sara Hunter?

Caller: Correct. It all came from the Pentagon originally. How to make the perfect obedient soldier. The Germans had started up the research before and during the war, and we perfected it. The churches were cooperative from the start. The agreement was they'd provide a quota every year and have them delivered

Kevin: Are you talking about children from the Indian residential schools, just so we're clear?

Caller: Correct. It went on for years, at least from forty six to the seventies, well, maybe earlier, the Catholics had their own thing going too but lots of that is classified (undecipherable) known to lots of people. But there'll never be an official acknowledgment, no way in hell. That's why we never spoke. This is for only you, understood?

Kevin: Okay.

Caller: Hell, nobody'd believe you anyway. (88)
The Indian schools were one aspect of an enormous crime against humanity involving social engineering, where violence and terror were used to fashion a permanent slave class of compliant aboriginal leaders
and a majority of traumatized, impoverished underlings: the two tiered aboriginal society across Canada that is really a model for a future, globalized Corporatocracy. The residential schools were one laboratory in which this new world order began to be fashioned.

The Genocide is enduring. And now it affects all of us.