Evelyn Korkmaz says sounds and smells aren’t the only things that trigger memories of severe abuse she suffered at the former St. Anne’s Indian Residential School that closed in 1976.
Often when Korkmaz tries to speak she is also reminded.
That’s because she has traced her speech impediment to the trauma she endured at the age 10 while forced to live at the former school that operated next to Fort Albany First Nation, her home community.
That was 53 years ago.
“It’s hard to talk about … it feels like it was just yesterday,” said Korkmaz, on Nation to Nation, who suffered constant abuse from other children at the school for three years.
“Because I was frightened, I feel, this is where my speech impediment has come from.”
Korkmaz detailed her abuse in the documentary, In Jesus’ Name: Shattering the Silence of St. Anne’s Residential School.
While she has learned to accept she can’t change what’s happened; she can’t accept having to fight the Canadian government all these years for documents, like her medical records or reports on persons of interest that may have witnessed her sexual abuse.
And as she turns 63-years-old this weekend that’s exactly where she’s at, along with all the other survivors of a school so evil and twisted it used an electric chair to punish young First Nations children.
“There are things in these documents that Canada doesn’t want people to know,” she said, adding the fight for the documents has going on for about a decade.
“These documents, to me, are very important. It is our Indigenous history.”
NDP Charlie Angus has long been advocating for the survivors of St. Anne’s. Angus said enough is enough.
At what point will the government just stop these stupid legal battles,” he said.
Listen to his, and Korkmaz’s, complete interviews below.
As well, N2N catches up with Cindy Blackstock and her ongoing fight for First Nations children.