Lena Burns spent eight years in residential school, four of which were in Prince Albert.
Originally from James Smith Cree Nation, the mother of three left home when she was five years old to begin her new life at school. Burns remembers those years as dark ones where her teachers tried to separate her from her family.
But, the experience did give her a deep appreciation for the family she left behind.
“I had that family connection, that sense of belonging, that sense of who I was,” Burns remembered. “That’s carried me through many adversities in my life, and that’s what has brought me here today.”
For Burns, memories of the time she spent with her mother and grandfather helped her get through those difficult times.
On Wednesday, she was sharing her experiences as part of Completing the Circle: Stronger Children through Stronger Families, a panel discussion held at the Prince Albert Multicultural Council as part of International Women’s Day.
Burns said she thought it was the perfect time to share her story, which she hoped would inspire others.
For the rest of this story, please see the March 9 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.