Erroll Kinistino is a Cree actor from Ochapowace First Nation, perhaps best known to audiences for his roles in Corner Gas and North of 60.
Kinistino travelled to Ochapowace and back to his home in Regina last month to honour the children whose unmarked graves were discovered at Kamloops Indian Residential School.
Kinistino himself was forced to attend Gordon’s Indian Residential School. He said he also feels immense regret for also sending his sons to a residential school.
The Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) provides a crisis line for survivors of residential schools.
Kinistino said that when he first called the line, he didn’t know what to expect.
“I didn’t realize all this stuff was going to impact me emotionally,” he said. “I think I had to get through this line just to see.”
He found the experience very helpful and recommended that other residential school survivors call the line.
“It helps me to get my tears out, to get my anger out, to get my remorse out, get my grief out,” he said.
Kinistino said that as he gets older, it becomes easier for him to reflect and deal with his emotions. He has been steadily making an effort to reconnect with his culture.
“I’m glad to be a kindergarten Indian today. Just learning. Learning about my culture and how beautiful it can be.”
The number for the Residential School Survivors’ 24-hour crisis line is 1-866-925-4419.