Residential school survivor shares story through music and spoken word

A residential school survivor is sharing his story, and the history of the Anishinaabe, through poetry and music.

Rene Meshakigizhig moved to Guelph from 1991 and has since been using music to share what life was like before, during and after his time in McIntosh Indian Residential School and Fort Francis Indian Residential School.

He highlights the importance of bringing back the music of his elders as a way to teach Indigenous and non-Indigenous people about the history of his people.

“The music died when missionaries came to our villages,” said Meshakigizhig.

He adds that marking the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation has been an opportunity for him to learn as well as he continues his own healing process.

“I hope they can take whatever they want from the story and take it home,” said Meshakigzhig. “Make it your own.

“It’s a good way to communicate if you’re not listen in English or Anishinaabe, and if you don’t understand Anishinaabe, you can certainly understand the flute tradition that once thrived in my community.”