Published on August 4, 2021 by The Sault Star

Michael Cachagee is a residential school survivor who has shared his life experiences, those of a young boy who suffered so much pathetic perversion in the Indian residential school he was forced to attend.

He remembers the days at St. John’s Indian Residential School, in Chapleau,very vividly. He suffered isolation, hunger, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. In fact, later he had become dependent on drugs and alcohol by the age of 16 in order to drown out the pain he had to endure.

He said that in many cases his addictions got much worse and he became an angry and abusive drunk. This continued until he was 42 and, by then, he knew that his addictions could not be controlled in order to ease the pain.

He made the decision to seek help and has been sober for more than 40 years. Many generations of survivors suffered the same fate. They learned abuse, worthlessness, hate and the loss of family. When they got out, they didn’t know how to love, be parents and thrive.

There was no one for these kids to talk to, no love or guidance. Their language, culture and connections to the land were systematically beaten out of them in order to achieve government mandated assimilation and indoctrination.

The churches were on the business end of things, where they were paid to run these schools on a budget and the purpose was to help the Government of Canada achieve their mandates.

Many of the 140 or so residential schools were in isolated areas of Canada. Many priests were pedophiles, the food often spoiled or meagre. Abuse was rampant as there was no supervision.

These people actually thought they were doing the right thing and as for those who objected out of conscience, they were terminated. Pedophile priests were moved to other schools. As Cachagee said, they were in “pedophile heaven.” No checks or balances.

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