Sunday, June 14, 2009

Up In Smoke

Many people in a small, northern New Brunswick First Nations community say they lost more than just a place of learning when their local school was gutted by an early-morning fire Thursday.

With smoke drifting over the charred structure that afternoon, many people, including students, visited what was left of the school in Eskinuopitijk, the community formerly known as Burnt Church.

I turned 16 in that school. I danced in a powwow in its gymnasium. I slept on its stage and showered in its locker room. I harmonized in its classrooms. I ran down its halls, escaping water-gun-wielding boys. I gave piggy-back rides outside its front doors.

And if you looked closely, you would have seen "Nadine was here" carved into a brick wall. Not by my hands.

Burnt Church First Nation School, I'll always love you.


Beth said...

i never knew you lived in NB! this is sad...who wrote your name in the wall? was it a boy who loved you?

nadine said...

I didn't live there, but spent a couple summers there running Bible camps with the local kids. And one of the little boys wrote my name on the wall. It was a mischievous indication of acceptance :)

michael lewis said...

As did I, Beth. But before Nadine.

I remember going around at night and making sure all the doors were locked, so we wouldn't be razed while sleeping. (oops..maybe "razed" isn't appropriate here; just looked it up in Dictionary)