the cemetery at the former Shingwauk Hall Indian Residential School is pictured on Monday, July 16, 2012 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission will name Shingwauk Hall, the site's chapel, and the cemetery national memorials next month.
Credits: MICHAEL PURVIS/QMI AGENCY
Cachagee was with a group of people talking about their experiences with Indian residential schools, when one man told how he hid in the bush as a child and watched, one Sunday, as a float plane took the children from his small remote community away to residential school.
One of those children on the plane was the man's brother.
"He said all he can recall is watching the plane take off and watching it and watching it and watching it until it disappeared. It was a little speck, and then poof, he couldn't see it anymore," Cachagee said.
It was the last time the man saw his brother, who would later die at residential school.
"How many times has that happened across the country?" said Cachagee, a member of the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association and one of those who helped found the organization.
It is for all those children, like that man's brother, who were spirited off to residential schools never to be seen by their families again, that Shingwauk Hall, its cemetery, and the Bishop Fauquier Memorial Chapel, will serve as a national memorial, following a dedication next month.
Marie Wilson, of the Indian residential schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, will dedicate the sites on Aug. 3.
As part of the memorial, the chapel will undergo a $700,000 renovation over the next two years.
Somewhere between 100 and 150 children and staff are believed to have been buried at the Shingwauk Residential School site, in a small cemetery in a wooded area a short walk east of Algoma University's Shingwauk Hall.
It is not easy to do justice to the memories of those who have become known as "the forgotten children," Cachagee said.
"At least there is someplace in Canada that will recognize (the children who didn't go home), that will be a lasting memorial for them," Cachagee said.