Sagkeeng First Nation
Manitoba R0E 0P0
Providing speaking engagements and seminar sessions for interested parties of Residential School Survivors, Foster Care system and Correctional Institutions.
Earl Morrisseau has a wealth of experience to share. An accomplished speaker who provides an honest history of event that encapsulates a life in the system. With a keen assessment of the target audience with age appropriate language and descriptions.
Speaking services for agencies and staff involved in education, social field, Child care, corrections and government policy development. The audience will be taken on a life journey filled with heart ache, poor to bad choices, struggles disappointment and hope.
Earl is testament of how the struggles of life shape you but don’t define you. He has overcome a negative experience to realize the benefits of Mino Pimatiziwin-living good life.
In 1965 Earl entered school at the Fort Alexander Indian Residential School at the age of five in the classroom of Sister Roberts. The Residential School was operated by the Roman Catholic Oblates. Earl’s formative school years were in the Residential School located in Sagkeeng First Nation.
At ten years old Earl was shipped to Brandon Manitoba when the Fort Alexander Indian Residential School was to be closed. Earl resided in the Brandon Indian Residential School until 1972 and ended his stay at the Assiniboine Indian Residential School in Winnipeg Manitoba. Being lonely scared and isolated were not the worst experiences to have, as it turned out being beaten with rulers, leather straps, and willows were the norm in Residential School. The food quality and quantity was a constant reminder of where you were and what your standing was. There were much greater horrors than going to sleep hungry. Preparing to go to bed was another horrible experience, most of what was said to be discipline was dealt out at bed time. The experience at the Residential School would shape Earl’s life.
After Earl left the Residential School at the age of 13 he entered the Foster Care Home system. He stayed in numerous different homes until he was 17 years old. Majority of the Foster Home stays were in the non-Indigenous community. The experience was a series of adventures; some were fun and positive but many were negative.
Earl got involved in drug and alcohol use at a young age. He first went to jail in Headingly Correctional Institution at age 17.
Earl would spend the rest of his adult life going in and out of jail. He could never sustain a stable relationship and employment. Spending much of his life as an addict and heavy drinker Earl was unable to establish meaningful family bonds. It was in jail where he became an avid reader and life-long learner. Later in life he became active in social causes; volunteering in the Indigenous community. He founded an anti-gang movement and situated a safe haven Indigenous club in the City of Winnipeg. The Winnipeg Native Alliance had its foundation with the guidance of Earl. Earl sought redemption in the Ogichidaa Society – Warrior society for the benefit of helping other Indigenous people.
In the name of the Father.
The year was 1965, it was a nice summer day, a mother and her son of five years were holding hands walking along a dirt road. The little boy not really knowing where they were going, was enjoying the time with his mother.
His Mother spoke of a place that was coming into view. The Boy’s mother began speaking with sadness in her voice. She spoke of other little boys and girls that were in this building. It was a huge place with barbed wire surrounding it, not unlike the play grounds we have in our schools today (minus the barbed wire). She began to cry when she told the boy he had brothers and sisters in this place that he never met The boy was suddenly filled with a fear that would last a lifetime.
The closer to the building they came, his fear built up, he began to pull away from his mother not wanting to continue this walk and it was a fear that would last forever. His mother told him “my boy, I wanted to bring you here myself so we could spend these last few hours together”. His mother cried as she spoke of this place; saying “My boy your grandma was here and I was here as well and so are all your brothers and sisters and cousins and many other children from far away. I love you so much my boy. I wish things were not this way. But I wanted to bring you myself. If I did not bring you here the police would have come and dragged you out of the house and brought you here by force”. Walking into the school the boy knew his life was about to change forever.
She said “Remember my son, no matter how long we’re separated my love will never change”. At that moment both their hearts broke and would never mend. She cried as she handed over her son to these people who were in charge of beating the savage out of her son. This lady still cries today for taking him there. But the boy forgave this lady and every other mother and father for having had to do this to their babies.
P.S. Try to imagine crying for someone you no longer remember and a warm loving home and not being able to speak your own language.
We must never forget.