The Gleaner
Arts & LifeSharing Our Stories

The real impetus

Story told by: Joe Deom
Written by: Melissa Stacey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Translation by: Sahawisó:ko’ Arquette

[Editor’s note: This instalment of Sharing Our Stories is the continuation of the story published in the October 4 edition entitled Kahnawake Survival School.]

…After New Year’s, the kids started school in those buildings. We had maybe 300 students.

All the teachers were volunteers. Nobody was paid because we didn’t have the money to pay them.


The Kahnawake Combined Schools Committee circa 1979 Posing from left to right is Muriel Deer Shirley Scott Lorna Delormier Nancy Deer and Geraldine Standup PHOTO Courtesy of Linda Karonhienhawe Delormier


We got books from all over the city that were probably obsolete. Chairs, tables, desks; everything was surplus.

After a whole year, we were still negotiating for a permanent facility for our kids. The band council set aside the land and we moved those six buildings onto the site and put permanent foundations on them. It was like a campus style.


Aerial view of the original Kahnawake Survival School KSS campus located right behind the current KSS PHOTO Courtesy of Dwayne Stacey


A lot of pressure was put on Indian Affairs by the women, especially Muriel Deer. She’s the one who was the real impetus of that school. She knew how to use pressure and helped us get funding and everything.

I had never come across women of that calibre in my life. They were the most dynamic group of women that I’ve ever come across.

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