Ray Charlie speaks with Dr. Anita Girvan and Dr. Rod Dobell, members of the Centre for Global Studies, during a presentation he made at the UVic Centre for Global Studies in October 2016. The presentation helped staff, faculty and visiting researches to learn about reconciliation and what that should mean for a university research centre. It was done as part of the first-ever Orange Shirt Day recognition by the Centre for Global Studies. (Photo by Kelly Bannister)

Ray Charlie speaks with Dr. Anita Girvan and Dr. Rod Dobell, members of the Centre for Global Studies, during a presentation he made at the UVic Centre for Global Studies in October 2016. The presentation helped staff, faculty and visiting researches to learn about reconciliation and what that should mean for a university research centre. It was done as part of the first-ever Orange Shirt Day recognition by the Centre for Global Studies. (Photo by Kelly Bannister)

Coast Salish Elder is Out of the Shadow and Into the Light

GoFundMe campaign launched to publish new book by Penelakut residential school survivor

It has taken more than five years, but Coast Salish elder and educator Raymond Tony Charlie has just completed a book about his residential school experiences.

‘In the Shadow of the Red Brick Building’ is based on the elder’s hardships and challenges in attending and surviving two residential schools. The book is also about his healing journey.

“Passers-by always said what a beautiful building,” Charlie relates. “But it was a place of horrors and pain for many children and families. I still hear personal stories that were hard to listen to as they happened to families. The government should build a healing place for us now, to become healthy and strong.”

As a child, he attended both Kuper Island (now Penelakut Island) residential school and St. Mary’s residential school in Mission. His new book is one of several ways that he has patiently shared his struggles and healing journey to help people understand these tragic events and to support others in finding ways to heal their own traumas.

“I am one of 150,000 children who went to residential school in Canada,” Charlie pointed out.

“I am grateful as a survivor to be here, I feel so fortunate. No one may notice, but many survivors have passed onto the spirit world sadly and cannot share their experiences of residential school.”

Over the last decade, Charlie has also been involved in countless cross-cultural workshops, the making of two films about the Kuper Island residential school, public speaking and discussion circles at schools, colleges and universities.

He gave testimony as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, regularly serves as an elder in First Nations court, attends elders meetings, leads men’s support groups and is involved in youth mentoring. Charlie is also a gifted carver.

He recently launched a GoFundMe campaign with the hope of raising enough money to publish his book so it can be shared with others. The goal is to raise $15,000 to cover the cost of publication.

You can find the GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-the-shadow

“The book has been a struggle to write for me,” he confided. “It has taken a long time. I just hope I get some funding to print it and make it available.”

Charlie is deeply committed to ensuring goodness comes from tragedy, which is the motivation for writing and sharing his story.

“I will continue to commit my time to share my story, in hopes it will bring healing and understanding of survivors of residential school,” he pointed out. “I feel this is important for the general public to understand what actions of Canada and churches brought so much turmoil and pain to us. We need to heal, it is important both to the future of our children and communities.

“I would like to have my book published so that other people can learn about the residential school experience. I believe it is important for others to learn about these experiences as it is our living history.”

– Kelly Bannister.

BooksFirst Nationsresidential schools

 

Ray Charlie is hoping to share his residential school experience by getting his book published. (Photo submitted)

Ray Charlie is hoping to share his residential school experience by getting his book published. (Photo submitted)

The Kuper Island residential school as it looked in 1917.

The Kuper Island residential school as it looked in 1917.

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

North Cowichan’s committee of the whole have rejected staff’s recommendation to limit the use of fireworks to Halloween. (File photo)
North Cowichan rejects limiting fireworks to Halloween

Municipality decides staff recommendation would be unpopular

Flag exhibit is now set up in the Chemainus Valley Museum. (Photo by Val Galvin)
Fibre artists put their unique twists on climate change exhibit

Red Flag warning label affixed to collection now on display at the Chemainus Valley Museum

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Many questions emerge from opioid dealer’s sentence

Leniency hard to fathom, especially after judge’s harsh words

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Most Read