For six years, Kretschmer’s days were filled with catechism and cleaning. She said the education component was almost non-existent, but she did learn to read and write.
“We never learned anything about our culture, or to be proud of our identity,” said Kretschmer.
Fortunately, she said her grandmother took her to ceremonies and powwows, despite there being a federal ban on Indigenous ceremonies and all Indigenous practices from 1885 until 1951.
For a young child, residential school was not only a lonely place, but a frightening one.
Kretschmer still doesn’t understand how adults could treat children so harshly. She said the worst part of the ordeal was never knowing why things happened, especially the abnormally cruel punishments.