Westwind Evening’s “Whisper in the Wind”
“Westwind Evening, … attended a residential school—the Catholic-run Lebret Indian Residential School, in the Qu’Appelle Valley. Her testimony, though, was not about her own experience in the school, but rather about the brutalizing effects that residential schools have had on her family over generations.
A creative writer, Evening shared her truth in the form of a short story, “Whispers in the Wind,” that details the experiences of a girl growing up in a family haunted by addictions and dysfunction stemming from her mother’s time in a residential school.
The narrative includes details of physical and sexual abuse inflicted on children by older generations deeply wounded by their own experiences, and emphasizes the brokenness that comes when parents do not know how to parent, and children feel more vulnerable at home than they do on the street.
It also shows how this abuse inclines the following generations to the same tragic behaviour.
‘The thing about intergenerational impacts: of all seven of our siblings, we all struggled with addiction, every single one of us—including my mother, including my stepdad,’ said Evening. Her mother, who died in 2006, never talked about her residential school experience.
But despite the sadness that infuses it, Evening’s story ends on a positive note, with reconciliation between siblings who have been estranged for decades.”