A “collective for the memory of Indian men” was created Thursday, February 2 in Rémire-Montjoly in Guyana, to obtain recognition of the violence suffered in Catholic boarding schools.
Composed mainly of former residents of the “homes”, these religious boarding schools in which Amerindian and black-maroon children have been placed since the 1930s, the collective wishes to engage in memorial work and obtain compensation for the forced assimilation and evangelization that ‘He denounces.
“This is a moment of great importance in the history of Guyana and the Amerindians of Guyana,” said Alexis Tiouka, activist and former boarder aged six to eleven. “In the homes, we could no longer speak our language and we all had a number, it was by him that we were called”.
Freedom of speech
Created in 1935 in Mana (West) by the Catholic Church, the system of “homes”, financially supported by the State from 1949, was revealed in September by the book Allons enfants de la Guyane by journalist Hélène Ferrarini . The work has since released the words of former residents.
“Today, the objective of the collective is to make this story known, to support people who have suffered damage and to reflect on their current consequences”, explains Alexis Tiouka.
Telling the story
Composed of thirteen founding members, almost all of whom passed through the “mens”, the collective wishes “the inclusion of the history of the men in school curricula, the creation of a place of memory and a truth and reconciliation commission for lift the veil on this taboo story”, summarized Christophe Pierre, member of the collective, during a press briefing.
In Guyana, a last Catholic boarding school remains, in Saint-Georges-de-l’Oyapock (East). It welcomes around sixty teenagers from the remote village of Trois-Sauts, without a college, and is partly financed by the Territorial Collectivity of Guyana since the separation of Church and State does not apply in this department. .
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