"I accept and I confess before God and you, our failures in the residential schools. We failed you. We failed ourselves. We failed God. I am sorry, more than I can say, that we were part of a system which took you and your children from home and family. I am sorry, more than I can say, that we tried to remake you in our image, taking from you your language and the signs of your identity."
— Archbishop Michael Peers, Apology of the Anglican Church of Canada, 1993
ABOUT THE PROJECT
For more than a century, the Canadian government operated a network of Indian Residential Schools that were meant to assimilate young indigenous students into western Canadian culture. Indian agents would take children from their homes as young as two or three and send them to church-run boarding schools where they were punished for speaking their native languages or observing any indigenous traditions, routinely sexually and physically assaulted, and in some extreme instances subjected to medical experimentation and sterilization.
The last residential school closed in 1996. The Canadian government issued its first formal apology in 2008.
Generations of Canada's First Nations forgot who they were. Languages died out, sacred ceremonies were criminalized and suppressed. These double exposure portraits explore the trauma of some of the 80,000 living survivors who remain, and through extensive accompanying interviews address the impact of intergenerational trauma, lateral violence, and document the slow path towards healing.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The book contains multiple exposure portraits and brief interview excerpts from 25 residential school survivors. The foreword, which appears in Cree and English, was written by residential school survivor, therapist, and First Nations University professor Marlene McNab. Daniella wrote a brief afterword.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Daniella Zalcman is an award-winning documentary photographer based between London and New York. She is a multiple grantee of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a fellow with the International Women's Media Foundation, and a member of Boreal Collective.
Her long-term projects tends to focus on the legacies of western colonization, from the rise of homophobia in East Africa to the forced assimilation education of indigenous children in North America. Daniella's work regularly appears in The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, National Geographic, and CNN, among others. Her photos have been exhibited internationally, and select prints are represented by LUMAS and Subject Matter. She regularly lectures at high schools, universities, museums, and conferences, and is available for assignments and speaking engagements internationally. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in architecture in 2009.