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Red Deer Advocate - Letters to the Editor
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Another look at residential schools

Recently in all forms of the medium I see the sorrowful plight of the aboriginals ancestors in the residential schools.

I wonder if there could be a small other side of the story. Years ago in the 1950s, I chatted with an elderly aboriginal fellow in Wetaskiwin. He told me of being a student in one of the residential schools. He mentioned he was taught reading, writing and number work (number work was his terminology).

Also, he was taught English. It was his feeling that without the residential school, he would of had no education at all.

I am none too sure what our present generation owes these people for hardships endured by their ancestors. I am sure it will be plenty.

However, my second great-grandfather immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1800s and was assigned to a farm operation as an indentured servant or white slave in Virginia. He eventually ran away and established himself in Indiana. I have this information documented by the family genealogy records in the Mormon Library in Salt Lake City.

The practice of indentured servants or white slaves was abolished by Abraham Lincoln after the Civil War. I am now considering a request to President Obama for some compensation for treatment of my second great-grandfather over 200 years ago.

If I receive nothing, should I assume my letter and request is ridiculous, or should I feel Obama is inclined to be racist?

As I was born in 1929, my advanced age and physical condition prevent me for ever hoping to get involved in any large Alberta government payout schemes. Therefore, I must try every little scam that does not involve much effort to enhance my situation.

Stan Snideman


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