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Survivor's story

Mary's Story


At the age of five, Mary Couchaine was enrolled in a residential school. She is a native of Sakgeen First Nation, now known as Fort Alexander. Mary is a second-generation survivor of residential schools. She, like her mother before her, was not allowed to speak her traditional language.  She experienced physical punishment and emotional abuse.  Shame was a tool used to enforce rules. Mary was  forced to stand on a table in the cafeteria and ask for forgiveness after she questioned a superior nun.  

Mary's residential school experience shaped her relationship with her children. She still suffers from insomnia due to her traumatic experience.