“TOMORROW” My Sister Said, Tomorrow Never Came.
(Metis language translated into English)
“That’s the train you’ll ride on,” Papa said. Mama muffled sounds as she pulled me close to her, then my two sisters. “My little girls, I’m going to miss you so much!” I was very confused. I wanted to cry. I didn’t like seeing my Mama cry. Why aren’t Mama and Papa coming with us I thought as we were guided onto the train? I tried looking out the window wanting to see Mama and Papa once more and was told to sit.
As the train blew its loud whistle, we slowly began to move. Once more I jumped up and pressed my face to the window. “Mama, Papa,” I cried until their faces faded in the distance.
I was five years old. I didn’t understand where I was going. Several long hours came to pass as an overwhelming sadness continued to engulf me. I could not control my tears. I wanted to go home! I wanted my Mama! I wanted my Papa!
The more my sisters, Helene and Lucy, tried to console me, the harder I cried. “Shhh,” Helene whispered. As I closed my heavy eyes and laid my head on her lap, I heard her softly say, “Tomorrow…tomorrow we’ll go home.”
My sisters were big girls. They were much older than I. They would know when I would get to see my Mama and Papa and my Brother Tommy again. After all, Helene was eight years old and Lucy was seven. They would take care of me. Papa told them to watch over me.
My world as I knew it no longer existed. We were shipped off to a government boarding school. It was 1927. “Indians” must be civilized! The Indians must be divorced from his primitive ways! We must recreate him! Make a new personality! Teach them the white man’s ways! Helene? Lucy? Where are you?
As time passed I began to forget my Mama and Papa and all that was before. Did the government succeeded in recreating me. I was now eight years old. We were told we would get to go home for the summer. I wanted to stay at school. I would miss my friends. Again, another unknown world was thrown at me. A sadness engulfed me again. A sadness I knew I felt before. What did Mama and Papa look like? Where did we live? I tried to picture home…family…but the memories of when I left home seem to be forgotten.
Three long years passed since my sister Helene said these words, “Tomorrow my sister”.