WATCH: A survivor of the Tsartlip Indian Day School on the Saanich Peninsula wants to see the small building torn down. April Lawrence reports.
Angel Sampson is filled with dread any time she has to look at the former day-school building on WSANEC School Board property on the Tsartlip First Nation.
She says she witnessed horrific abuse when she attended the school in the 1960s.
“Violence, hatred, killing of my way of life, there was no joy here, not one day of joy here,” she said.
Sampson says her most vivid memory is being physically abused by a teacher.
“She picked me up by the top of my dress and she started swinging me side to side like this and then she threw me against the cement wall and I was knocked unconscious. I was eight,” she said.
Now Sampson wants to see the building torn down to help her, and the others who attended the school, heal.
“I just don’t want it around anymore, it serves no purpose, it’s just an ugly reminder,” she said.
Day schools were similar to residential schools, except students got to go home to their families at the end of the day.
Tsartlip Chief Don Tom’s father went to school with Sampson.
“There’s just many horrific stories that come from the day school,” Tom said.
He says the run-down building is currently only used for some administrative work and since the WSANEC School Board is currently looking at expanding its surrounding school facilities, now is the time to consider the day school’s future.
Is this a legacy that brings more harm than good? So that’s what we need to take into consideration,” Tom said.
The building’s fate will be discussed at a meeting later this month.