Thursday, September 29, 2022

Residential School Survivor from Atikamexheng to Throw the First Pitch at Jess Game on Friday | CBC News

Warning: This story contains disturbing details.

Dolores Naponse is a little concerned about how far she’ll have to throw her “baby pitch.”

The 72-year-old of Atikmaxeng Anishnobek, near Sudbury, Ontario, will throw the ceremonial first pitch in Toronto on Friday at a Major League Baseball game between the Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox.

Naponse, a survivor of a residential school, was asked by the Jace Care Foundation to throw a pitch National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.

Other survivors of the residential school system and their families will be in the stands along with 250 children from The Jays Care Foundation’s Indigenous Rookie League programming.

This is how Naponse is involved. Her grandsons Jeffrey and Keewton played baseball on a team last year.

Two young men wearing orange shirts.  One's hand is around the other.
Napon joined the Indigenous Rookie League from the Jays Care Foundation, thanks to his two grandchildren, Jeffrey and Keewton Chichu, who were on a team. (Submitted by Paula Naponse)

“I think it’s a great thing to see what Jays Care is doing for our kids,” said Naponse, of the 28 kids from the First Nation who applied to play baseball with the league.

The Indigenous Rookie League encourages participants to focus less on skill level and more on getting their community involved.

Naponse said it’s a good way to get kids off their screens after the height of the pandemic.

“Bringing him into baseball was something good for him.

“It was so exciting to see all the grandparents and parents reunited with their kids,” he said.

Naponse will bring her entire family with her to Friday’s game.

Two grandparents standing on either side of their daughter and two grandchildren in front of a pickup truck
Naponse, far right, will be bringing her entire family to the Jazz-Red Sox game on Friday night, including her husband Jeff, far right, their daughter Paula, center, and their grandchildren Kewthan and Jeffrey Chichu. (Submitted by Paula Naponse)

“We’re all excited right now, because I’ve never been [Blue Jays] game first. Well, I haven’t been in Toronto for a long time.”

Naponse said she was nervous about throwing the ball during the formal pitch and admitted that she asked the organizers how far she would have to throw the ball.

“He assured me it’s not going to be so difficult.”

Honoring ‘Jeevan Pratibha’, J.S.

one in News releaseThe Blue Jays and Jays Care Foundation said, “To honor the survivor and all lives affected by the residential school system, Blue Jays employees will wear an orange ‘Every Child Matters’ shirt and orange T-shirt pins, and the survivor’s flag.” will be displayed prominently throughout the stadium.”

Tsuki Marule, a professor at the Blood Tribe’s Red Crow Community College in southern Alberta, will perform the Canadian anthem in Blackfoot, English and French, he said, in recognition of the more than 70 indigenous languages ​​spoken across the country.

Jays Care Foundation is donating $150,000 to Indigenous-led organizations in support of their important work for survivors and their families.

The old lady and the younger lady are both wearing orange shirts.
Naponse is shown with his daughter, Lisa Marie Naponse. (Submitted by Paula Naponse)

“I know the feeling of being there. I know the feeling of loss and loneliness,” Naponse said of attending Spanish Indian Residential School in the early 1960s.

She said that she lost a lot of self-esteem and confidence after being forced to attend the institute as a child, and believes she has blocked a lot of memories.

“I don’t remember being educated.

“I remember going to bed at night and a lot of us cried at different times of the night,” she said.

To mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Napons said it’s important that everyone learns about the painful history.

“For me, it’s an important day because we need to be educated about what happened in our First Nations and our people who went to these schools, and all the kids who were buried there who had just been there. were recently found.

“I am concerned about the inter-generational effects of residential schools because I know how it has changed me,” Naponse said.

“I’m in a better place right now.”


Help is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools or the latest reports.

A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been established to provide support for survivors and those affected. People can access emotional and distress referral services by calling the 24-hour National Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419.

Mental health counseling and crisis support is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Hope for Wellness hotline at 1-855-242-3310 or by online chat.,

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